It's a move that even the most optimistic fight fans had to know was in the works. After more than 20 years of combat sports competition, both in kickboxing and in MMA, Cryille Diabate is ready to step away from fighting. Or, at least he will be after one last fight. Diabate is scheduled to face Swedish light heavyweight Ilir Latifi at UFC Fight Night London: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa on Saturday, March 7. He spoke to MMA Junkie this week to talk about coming to terms with the end of his career.
"The motivation when you're 40 years old is your biggest enemy," Diabate said. "You've got to keep something in your mind that motivates you. 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."
He had a lot more to say about his recovery process and his upcoming retirement, so check out the whole thing. Generally, however, its' interesting to here him speak frankly about his motivation and waning desire to compete. He revealed that he almost decided to call it quits immediately after his injury, as well. But, eventually decided that he had to make one last push for a solid performance before he stepped away. It's easy to understand his feelings, no one wants to walk away on an injury.
His fight against Latifi will be the 30th in an MMA career stretching all the way back to 1999 and including wins over Bob Schrijber, Luiz Cane, and Steve Cantwell, as well as battles against Mauricio Rua, Renato Sobral, and Alexander Gustafsson. Add in Diabate's 51 kickboxing bouts on top of that and he's one of the most well traveled vets in the sport today. I know Diabate has his own gym in France, the "Snake Team," and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him stay heavily involved in combat sports after his retirement.