UFC Moncton: Stevie Ray Admits Retirement Was A Possibility Had He Lost to Ayari

His card opening win at UFC Moncton was a big victory for Stevie Ray. How big? It probably kept him from retiring, Ray said following Saturday’s bout with Jessin Ayari.

Moncton, NB — Stevie Ray had his back to the wall heading into UFC Moncton over the weekend. Heading into the Fight Night event, Ray had dropped two straight, including a close split decision loss against Kajan Johnson that he felt should have gone the other way. In the octagon, in Moncton, he opened the show against a returning Jessin Ayari, who gave him one heck of a good scrap. Ayari managed to sneak through an uppercut and “more head shots,” Ray later admitted, but ultimately, he took home a unanimous decision win.

And Ray thinks it’s a win that saved his career. “I do man,” he said of whether the victory prevented it all coming to an end. “That was a big fight.”

“To be honest, it’s hard trying not to think about stuff,” Ray explained. “Some people say, ‘try and not think about that.’ I believe if I lost that fight, my UFC career was over. To be honest, I don’t like thinking like that, obviously, but I believe that if I did lose and get cut from the UFC, that would be me. Like I would maybe retire. I know I’m still young, but… yeah. It was a big fight.”

Towards the end, Ray utilized a bit of gamesmanship, waving Ayari in. Ayari stuck his chin out, but didn’t take the bait. Asked whether he was worried about the scorecards at the point, Ray admitted he was.

“I’m not going to lie, I was worried a wee bit with the scorecards, be cause my last fight, I felt like I won, I felt like I beat Kajan Johnson,” Ray said. “And it was a split decision and he got the win. So I was devastated.”

“I didn’t really want it going to the judges, I wanted to try to finish him.” It didn’t happen in the end, but that’s not entirely surprising to Ray. “I knew he would be tough.”

As for whether Ray sticks around Montreal’s TriStar gym, where he spent time leading up to UFC Moncton, that remains to be seen. Ray went to the gym for a number of factors, including a psychological edge, a training partner having surgery, and isolation. “At TriStar I was able to eat, sleep, and train,” Ray explained. In short, the distractions were gone. “The only thing that I feel like I did miss at TriStar was my head coach, James Dillon. I’m not going to lie, I missed his pad work, his guidance.”