Ilir Latifi earned a win at UFC Fight Night 211 this past weekend and then hinted that he might be on the verge of retiring from the sport.
‘The Sledgehammer’ defeated fellow veteran Aleksei Oleinik by unanimous decision, marking his second win in a row at heavyweight, but revealed afterwards that it was the final fight on his current contract with the UFC, and that it wasn’t certain that he’d be returning to the Octagon.
“This was my last fight on my (UFC) contract,” Latifi said in his post-fight interview with Paul Felder at the UFC Apex. “I’ve turned 40 now, and I don’t know what (will) happen after this. I want to say a special thanks to the UFC. It’s been an amazing run. It’s been some glorious fights, and some ups and downs. But there’s an end to every story. We’ll see what happens after this. … It’s an amazing sport, but the margins are so small.”
Latifi first emerged in the UFC out-of-the-blue, being drafted in to make his debut on just a few days notice to replace his teammate Alexander Gustafsson against Gegard Mousasi back in 2013.
Latifi lost the fight, but for stepping on on such short notice he was granted another opportunity in the promotion and he grabbed it with both hands, going on to win his next two fights.
In the years since Latifi has complied a 9-6 UFC record, competing at both light-heavyweight and heavyweight, picking up notable wins over the likes of Ovince Saint Preux, Tyson Pedro, Gian Villante and Cyrille Diabate along the way.