Evans admits there was a time when he was seriously considering hanging up the gloves for good, but the long layoff leading up to his fight against Jon Jones helping reignite the fire to compete.
"There was a time (I considered retirement)," he said. "Especially being an analyst. You get to hang out and get to watch the fights – that was the fun part. But still being competitive, I still have that drive to want to go in there. Being an analyst presents its own challenges, but nothing like actually being in there and doing it."
"The layoff was perfect for me," Evans on Thursday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "It allowed me to sort out some things I needed to sort out. And it was kind of something I didn't really plan for – it was something that just happened, and I just went with it. I had other opportunities to do other things, and it allowed me to just clear my mind out and miss the sport of fighting again."
Evans is set to fight "Minotauro" Nogueira on Feb. 2 at UFC 156, and a victory possibly puts him in line for a title shot against Anderson Silva.
"A lot of it had to do with (the Jones fight)," Evans said of his drive to compete. "A lot of it had to do with my personal situation outside the cage. And a lot of it had to do with just me trying to reevaluate where I am in my life. I'm a very analytical person, so I like to think a lot. I just felt like I was really at a place where I was settling into a lot of situations and I really needed to have a moment to just take a step back and breathe. The last couple years, so much has happened – I didn't really have a chance to sit down and say, 'Wait, what the hell just happened?' to evaluate anything that happened."