Ryan LaFlare is looking to end his retirement.
LaFlare went 7-3 in UFC and headlined a card against Demian Maia and had a notable win over Santiago Ponzinibbio. Yet, he had to end his MMA career after a knockout loss to Anthony Rocco Martin at UFC 229 due to his injuries.
“I didn’t retire because of the loss I retired because my body couldn’t take it anymore. I was coming off my third ACL surgery and I had 10 fights in the UFC and had five surgeries since I was in the UFC,” LaFlare told BJPENN.com. “It felt like every time I fought I had to have surgery. My body just started giving up on me. I took that time completely off the sport and I stopped loving it because it turned into a job and I was hurt and spending more time rehabbing my injuries then I was preparing myself for a fight.”
LaFlare believes the injuries hindered how good he could have been in the UFC but won’t play the what-if game. Instead, since retiring, he has been coaching the likes of Brian Kelleher and John Gotti III. But, he is interested in making a comeback and signing with the PFL.
“Mostly I want PFL because I love the way the organization is run and the way they treat their fighters. You know when you are fighting and everything is laid out for you,” he explained. “I love what they are doing but at the end of the day, money talks. I’ve put countless hours in the gym and it will pay off. I see an opportunity with the people in this tournament and I want a piece of the pie. I know I can be a force to be reckoned with.”
Although he is interested in coming back, LaFlare says the money has to make sense. He also doesn’t have an offer from the PFL yet. But, with his manager being Ali Abdelaziz, he believes it will get done and he can finally have the fight against Rory MacDonald which he has wanted for years.
“You can ask any of my coaches, I’ve always said that is a good matchup for me against Rory MacDonald. When I was coming in the UFC and had that hot streak I wanted that fight,” he said. “I always felt that he was the guy standing in the way of where I wanted to be and I love that matchup. Obviously our paths never crossed and he went to Bellator. I still think it’s a great matchup for me.
“He’s very smart and technical but so am I. I bring a lot more pressure and I have a very strong wrestling game. In the later rounds, I’d find a way to win,” he continued. “He’s a tremendous fighter, but I like the matchup because he doesn’t pose much of a threat to win. He is the favorite to win. So I’d take him first or I’d take him in the Finals, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Ryan LaFlare believes if he is a part of the PFL he will be the welterweight champion and win the million dollars at the end of it.
“I think I’m on a different level than those guys or the same level with a better mental ability to get it done,” he concluded.
How do you think Ryan LaFlare would do in the PFL?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/30/2020.