A UFC veteran with 23 fights under the UFC banner, Gonzaga has been a staple of the UFC’s heavyweight division since he made his debut in 2005, where he knocked out Kevin Jordan in the 3rd round with a spectacular superman punch.
Unfortunately however, Gonzaga has been on a bit of a slide recently, going just 1-4 in his last 5. His most recent win came by way of unanimous decision against Konstantin Erokhin at the ‘Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber’ Finale nearly a year ago.
Following his win over Erokhin, Gonzaga met Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis in the Octagon in April. In the very first round, Lewis landed a big punch that stopped Gonzaga, marking the 9th time in his professional career that he had been stopped by strikes.
In a recent interview with MMAFighting, the veteran heavyweight revealed that unless the UFC is willing to pay him over $100,000, he is retiring from the sport:
“I don’t plan on coming back,” Gonzaga said. “I’m taking care of my new gym, Squared BJJ. If I get an offer, it has to be a great offer, or I’ll keep competing in jiu-jitsu against people my age. I’m probably retired already. I will only fight again if there’s a good offer, financially speaking, and I don’t think any promotion wants me.”
“I don’t fight for less than 100 thousand dollars,” he said. “I’m 37 years old and I won’t risk my health or waste my time training and suffering for this. I don’t need it anymore. God gave me a good opportunity in life, and I don’t need this anymore. That would be my number. For less than 100 thousand, I wouldn’t step into a ring anymore.”
Gonzaga went on to explain why he is frustrated with the direction that the UFC is going, and reflect on his career, which saw him pick up numerous highlight reel knockout wins, with the most notable being against Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 70.
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“The UFC is more like a show than a fight sport now,” Gonzaga said. “[Conor] McGregor is the biggest example. I’m embarrassed to be in a sport where McGregor is the biggest idol. If you wouldn’t like your son to be like the biggest idol in your sport, there’s something wrong with it. And I don’t believe anyone would like to have a son like McGregor.”
“Thank God I had a good run in this sport,” “Napao” said. “I wasn’t the best in the world or became the champion in a big organization, but I was always there. I was a top 10 for almost a decade, I have the second-fastest knockout in the division, I have more than 20 fights in the biggest promotion in the world, and I believe I’m tied with Frank Mir with most finishes in the division. I had a good run. It could have been better, but it could have been worse, too.”