MMA veteran Thales Leites has revealed that he plans to retire after his next fight with Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night 137 in Sao Paulo, Brazil on September 22nd.
“It’s not an idea, it’s been decided,” Leites told MMAjunkie. “I will do my last fight and I will stop.”
Leites has been competing for no less than 15 years and during that time has had dozens of fights, and that, together with the fact that he is in his late 30’s has made up his mind that it’s time to hang up his gloves for good.
“I’m going to be 37, I already have a pretty big number of fights. 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?”
Leites also admits that after such a long time in the sport his desire to compete is no longer what it once was.
“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. 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.”
After his final fight with Lombard, Leites intends to stay busy though and will turn his attention to passing on his skills and knowledge to others.
“I have my gym, so I’m going to give it more attention. 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.”