Rashad Evans enters UFC Hall of Fame with legacy rooted in Niagara Falls
July 05, 2019


Bill Dixon didn’t know that Rashad Evans would become one of the most fearsome mixed martial artists of his generation, that this poor kid from Niagara Falls would rise from his junior high gym class to the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title.

He didn’t know that Evans would captain the wrestling team at Michigan State and earn two black belts and land his big break on reality TV. Or that Evans would win his first 10 professional fights and run his record to 19-8-1, triumphing against a collection of MMA’s grandest stars: Michael Bisping and Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz. Or that Evans’ name will forever join theirs Friday, when the 39-year-old is inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

At the beginning, Dixon knew just two things about Evans, both stemming from what he had witnessed in school one afternoon. The first was that this seventh-grader with no wrestling experience had soundly beaten a classmate who’d been training since he was 5.

The second was that he needed this kid on his team.