Tanner Set for Summer Return to Action


Evan Tanner weighs-in for UFC 82: Pride of a Champion. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner, who was recently defeated by title contender Yushin Okami at UFC 82 earlier this month, will return to action this summer and apparently already has an opponent to prepare for.

Tanner made the announcement on his official website earlier today. According to the Amarillo, Texas native, he was given an opponent for his next fight by UFC matchmaker Joe Silva over the weekend.

“Just talked with Joe Silva, the UFC matchmaker, and he gave me a date and an opponent,” Tanner said in the post. “Looks like I’ll be back in the Octagon this summer. It’s good to have a fight scheduled. The last two weeks have been really rough.”

Tanner’s loss to Okami was his first fight in nearly two full years after taking a hiatus from active competition in order to get away from fighting and deal with some personal needs. His break from fighting also involved yet another battle with alcohol addiction, a disease Tanner has been fighting for the majority of his adult life.

Even though Tanner’s anticipated return didn’t go as planned against Okami, the former Team Quest member admitted that he overcame a huge hurdle after the fight as he prevented himself from giving in to his personal demons after the fight.

“That moment, in the silence of the dressing room, faced with crushing disappointment, numbing embarrassment, and that heavy sadness, I faced the old demons,” Tanner wrote in a post-fight blog post. “I felt so low, as if everything had been lost. I wanted to drink. I faced those old demons again, and I beat them down. I won the battle, and I won the war. I didn’t drink, and I won’t.”

Originally teaching himself submission and grappling techniques using instructional video tape, Tanner rode a roller coaster of ups and downs all the way to becoming the third middleweight champion in UFC history when he defeated David Terrell over three years ago.

“I never really set out to do that the first time,” Tanner said in a 2007 interview with MMA on Tap. “I just kept winning fights and next thing you know, I’ve got the middleweight belt. I was just trying to pay the bills.”

However it’s that same middleweight title that Tanner has vowed to regain since beginning his comeback late last year.

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