As the prizes in competitive grappling get bigger the sport is starting to attract many once impressive MMA fighters.
Thales Leites (27-9 MMA, 12-8 UFC) has been in the world of MMA for 15 years. Still he’s opting to hang up the gloves in his birth country Brazil later this year and to hopefully mark a new beginning.
“It’s not an idea,” Leites told MMAjunkie. “It’s been decided. I will do my last fight and I will stop.”
“I’m going to be 37, I already have a pretty big number of fights,” Leites said. “I don’t want to stay at 37, 38, 39 doing this very intense training that also has a lot of impact to the head – the famous concussion. Like it or not, every training session, you’re taking impact to the head.
“Not to mention the abrupt weight cuts. Doing that two to three times a year, we know it’s not healthy. It’s needed in the sport, and it’s common – of course, we do it with medical guidance, and we’re used to it. But how is the future of the athletes who started doing these weight cuts, their old age?”
“I’ve had many fights, so I don’t have the same drive, that same hunger to keep training and competing that I did before,” Leites said. ” I think my time has come. Now, there are new generations coming in. I’m happy for everything I did, everything I went through. I really enjoyed the journey and I’ll keep enjoying it, in a different way.”
– Leite told mmajunkie
“I have my gym, so I’m going to give it more attention,” Leites said. “I’m going to focus mostly on jiu-jitsu at first, but then I intend to start helping out at Nova Uniao. Then I can have more advanced students that start migrating to MMA. This is something that I think of right now. Things change – not when it comes to my wanting to fight again, but in terms of the field I’m going to act on. I have many things, many life projects, many opportunities.”
He meets Hector Lombard (34-9-1 MMA, 3-7 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 135 (UFC Sao Paulo ) on Sept. 22.