ABU DHABI – Abdul Razak Alhassan is back.

At UFC on ESPN 13, Alhassan (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) will make his first walk to the cage in 22 months. Alhassan has not competed since September 2018, largely due to accusations made by two Texas women.

“It’s forever changed because your name can never be the same,” Alhassan told MMA Junkie at a pre-fight media day Monday. “But for me, life is back to normal. The reason I say that is the past two years, life was not normal. The only thing pretty much I did was cry, sleep, look at my family. I’d cry in my sleep without even knowing I was crying. My family would wake me up saying I’m crying in my sleep, stressed, thinking about what’s going to happen in the future.”

Alhassan was accused of rape by two women stemming from encounters after he allegedly took them back to one of their homes in Saginaw, Texas, on March 23, 2018. Alhassan had been working at the Varsity Tavern in Fort Worth that night as a bouncer. He was indicted on the allegations in September 2018, but was found not guilty in March 2020.

Alhassan, 34, said he’s in a good place mentally entering his UFC return against Mounir Lazzez on Wednesday. In fact, he may be happier now than he’s ever been in his life.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Alhassan said. “But knowing that that weight is lifted off when you can wake up and see your family and know you’re going to be there for them. I feel like, for me, life is even much happier now than it was before.”

Behind the happiness, however, anger still remains. Alhassan knows he’ll have to harness his emotions on fight night. In one particularly emotion-filled answer, Alhassan expressed his hope the accusers “pay” for their past claims.

“When I was going through all this, I said to myself that it was good for me that I was going through this embarrassment that I’m going (through),” Alhassan said. “I’m a good person. I’d never do what they said I did. It got to a point where I asked myself, ‘Why is God letting evil people like that live?’ Because if I didn’t do something like that to you, why?

“… I thought about revenge. If I tell you I didn’t, I’m lying. I thought about all the revenge in this world in that I can – for the pain they are putting me through. They are out there stripping, not caring what they’re doing to me, having lives, posting things on social media happy, throwing alcohol (back), while I’m home crying every day. I can’t even take care of my kids. So much anger. I have so much anger. I know it’s behind me now, but I really hope God takes some huge revenge on these girls. I really hope they get what they deserve.”