With 31 professional bouts and 19 years of mixed martial arts experience, UFC pioneer Pedro Rizzo is hanging up the gloves.
The 41-year-old Rizzo announced his retirement following his victory over Andrew Flores Smith; it was his first fight in over two years and just his third fight since 2010.
“I was scared. Not about the fight, but about this moment. I wanted to show my students how it is,” Rizzo said via MMA Fighting. “I don’t need to fight anymore, but I wanted to fight one more time for my students and my daughter, who is eight years old and wanted to see me fight.”
Rizzo made his UFC debut in 1998, defeating “Tank” Abbott via KO eight minutes into the 15-minute round. He went on to share the cage with other greats like Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Josh Barnett, Dan Severn, Randy Couture, Andrei Arlovski, Ken Shamrock and Fedor Emelianenko.
Looking back on his career, Rizzo felt he’d accomplished enough before committing to retirement.
He told MMA Fighting:
“Now is time for the new athletes and talents to shine. It all ended how it started, with low kicks in Brazil.”
Despite retiring from mixed martial arts competition, he probably won’t leave the sport for good. Rizzo is already recognized as one of the better coaches in the sport, having trained former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva throughout his title reign.