Upon making an in-studio appearance on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, veteran UFC middleweight Rafael Natal formally announced his retirement from professional mixed martial arts. A native of Brazil, “Sapo” will continue to compete in jiu-jitsu competitions going forward.
“I came here today to announce my retirement from MMA,” Natal said on Monday afternoon. “It was the toughest walk in today to your studio because it is hard to make this announcement, but I talked to my family, my friend, my coaches. That is the time. I have new focus in my career as a coach, so that’s the [right] thing to do in the moment.
“It’s very hard, you know? It was a long journey. I love MMA, I love training, cutting weight, but I had some surgeries before. I’m focused on that 100% in my life, doing this 15 years, so it’s time to step back. My mom asked me this a long time ago, and that was a hard decision, but that’’s what we have.”
While producing a 21-9-1 overall record as a professional mixed martial artist, Natal notably registered a mark of 9-7-1 under the umbrella of the UFC. It is also worth noting that the jiu-jitsu black belt stepped inside “The Octagon” a whopping 17 times over the course of the last seven years.
“Some circumstances brought me to it,” Natal continued. “I just opened a huge school in Brazil now and plan to open here in New York too. I’m coming from three losses now, the last two were really bad.”