After a very long career as a top-level mixed martial artist Cyrille Diabate has made the decision, at age 40, to call an end to his career.
The French native Diabate (19-9-1 MMA, 4-3 UFC) is set to make his final appearance, win or lose, against Ilir Latifi (7-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) during the preliminary card of this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 37 in London.
The last time we saw Diabate in action was sometime last year during his bout with Jimi Manuwa, the man headlining this Saturday’s event against number one contender Alexander Gustafsson. During the bout Diabate suffered a torn calf that forced the fight to be halted, and gave Diabate the most painful experience in a fight he’d ever had.
After the injury Diabate greatly considered going into retirement. And understandably so given his circumstances. However, he just couldn’t settle with going out that way.
“At one point, just after the fight, I called it quits in my mind,” Diabate told MMAjunkie. “Pride definitely made me go back to fighting,” he said. “I thought to myself, ‘I can’t go out like that. This can’t be the end of my career.’ It was definitely motivation to continue and end up with a big performance.”
With a series of rather impressive performances and an opponent list of who’s who in the sport Diabate has nothing to be ashamed of in his career even if he were to stop now. However, that just doesn’t seem to be Diabate’s style.
Before his “loss” to Manuwa, Diabate was on a two fight win streak and in nearly a decade had only lost to the likes of Shogun Rua, Alexander Gustafsson, Anthony Perosh, and of course Manuwa.
But it seems that as the years go by the fire that once pushed Diabate along is starting to burn out.
“The motivation when you’re 40 years old is your biggest enemy. For this fight, the motivation was not stopping with that kind of performance and that kind of injury. It was easy for me to get in the gym every day and work my ass off.
“But after this fight, I don’t think anything is going to be motivating me enough to make those sacrifices and be in the gym daily.”
And though he may not be in the gym training to compete any longer Diabate will be sure to still spend his days training other fighters and preparing others for the long and arduous road ahead.
“Fighting’s been part of my life for the last 22 years, and I’ve loved every bit of it. But after a while, you’ve got to move on to different things.”
But first, Diabate has hopes to go out with a “W” and defeat Latifi. The two are set to face off this Saturday at UFC Fight Night 37. The event will be live and streamed to all UFC Fight Pass customers.Cyrille Diabate, ilir latifi, ufc fight night 37