Veteran UFC lightweight campaigner Kurt Pellegrino has announced that he may have fought for the last time as he takes an extended break to consider his future.
The news comes after Pellegrino slipped to back-to-back defeats against George Sotiropoulos and Gleison Tibau over the last year.
“Never in my career have I lost two fights in a row and my last fight’s decision in particular was especially hard for me to swallow to be honest,” Pellegrino wrote on his website. “Even last year when i was on a 4 fight win streak I still was questioning myself. This has made me reconsider what my next step will be competitively.”
Unusually, Pellegrino is seriously considering retirement despite appearing to still have the opportunity to fight on in the UFC.
“I have spoken at length with Joe Silva about my decision and have decided not to renew my contract with the UFC. I want to take the time to regroup, refocus, and rethink what it is that I want to do going forward.”
That’s not to say that Pellegrino is looking to walk away from combat sports altogether though – far from it in fact.
“I want to do things that I enjoy right now and refresh my mind. I want to concentrate on my BJJ game and improve it. I want to work on my boxing game and improve that also. I’d like to compete in some grappling tournaments again like the old days and maybe even try my hand at a pro boxing fight. I want to have fun training again, bottom line. Most importantly I want to spend more time with my family.”
The 32 year-old closed his statement by admitting that it was a tough decision to make, but also left the door ajar slightly for a possible return in the future.
“It is bitter sweet to possibly end my career on a loss and something I will have to deal with on my own, but overall it has been a rewarding 11 years for me and I want the end to be on my terms and no one else’s. Its hard to make a decision like this, but I feel its best for me to step away for now and time will tell what the future will bring for me. I don’t want to retire, but I need to find myself and find my love for this sport again.”
For now Pellegrino bows out with a 16-6 record, 7-5 in the UFC.