Long-time MMA veteran Brian Ebersole declared that he was retiring from the sport following a defeat against Omari Akhmedov at UFC Fight Night 68 yesterday.
Ebersole called the fight off himself in-between the first and second rounds after picking up a knee injury in the opening five minutes that left him unable to continue.
Speaking to MMAJunkie afterwards, Ebersole revealed that he’d planned to retire later this year, but he’s made the decision to call it a day now instead.
“I’m getting old, I’m getting up there,” Ebersole said. “I planned on retiring in November after the fight in Melbourne, but we’ll call it a night tonight. I’ve had a long career in MMA, a long career in wrestling, and this (leg) has been bugging me throughout my camp. It was just lingering stuff. You try to go harder, and things start to flare up.
“I’ve been very bipolar in my training camp: sprint, rest, and rest longer, then wake up and sprint. It’s been a hard camp. The stress of worrying about being healthy and worrying about my performance – it’s too much.”
At 34 Ebersole isn’t the oldest guy around – in fact last night’s headliner Dan Henderson has full 10 years on him – but he’s remained remarkably active over the course of his career, racking up 70 professional MMA bouts in 15 years, compiling a very respectable 51-17-1 (1nc) record along the way.
Between 2008 an 2012 Ebersole went on an 11 fight winning streak, including 4 victories in the UFC’s Octagon, but since then he’s struggled and last night’s result was his third loss in four fights.
“I can gracefully hang ’em up and call it a day,” Ebersole said. “The last couple of fights, I’ve really had to tough it out. Fighting Rick Story really hurt my lower back. I was seeing chiropractors every day for almost two weeks before the fight. That was terrible. Getting the win against John Howard, I thought about it, and was like, ‘Man, I’ve got one more year in me before I really settle down and life takes over and my wife wants to get back to work and resume her career.’ This year was me being greedy.”