42-year old Brazilian mixed martial artist Leonardo Santos has decided to call it a career.
Santos (18-6-1), who won The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2 tournament in 2013, announced the news on social media late Thursday night. He had last competed at UFC 278 just a matter of weeks ago, and had told media outlets in Salt Lake City including Cageside Press that retirement was not in the cards.
In the subsequent weeks, that has clearly changed. Writing in his native Portuguese (translation via Google Translate), Santos stated that “MMA is not just about the 3 or 5 rounds [a fighter] has to face, or the spotlight, flashes and interviews. It’s talking about our daily habits, time with our families and our lifestyle choices. There is no half-athlete. Either you are 100% in or you are out. Until yesterday I was 100% in.”
“At this point, you’ve read between the lines and you’re right, I’m retiring. It’s not because I don’t love the sport anymore. I love martial arts, and I always will. However, I’m feeling that the time to stop is now. I look back and see that I achieved a lot throughout my career, it was not little, and I got to where every fighter would like to be, in the biggest event in the world, the UFC! But I need to look ahead.”
“Thank God I feel like I have nothing left to prove to anyone,” Santos added.
Santos closes out his career on a three-fight losing streak, but prior to that had been undefeated in his UFC run. He posted a 7-3-1 record inside the octagon, and holds notable wins over Kevin Lee and Stevie Ray, among others. Santos also captured two Performance of the Night bonuses during his time with the organization.