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UFC pioneer Pedro Rizzo retires: It ended how it started, with low kicks in Brazil

41-year-old UFC pioneer Pedro Rizzo has decided to hang it up after 19 years in the sport.

Screengrab, PRIDE 31

Pedro Rizzo started his career in 1996, and was one of the star pupils of UFC 7 tournament champ Marco Ruas. This past weekend, the 41-year-old UFC pioneer won by leg kick TKO and decided to officially hang up his gloves after 19 years in the sport.

"I was scared. Not about the fight, but about this moment. I wanted to show my students how it is," Rizzo announced as quoted by MMA Fighting. "I don’t need to fight anymore, but I wanted to fight one more time for my students and my daughter, who is eight years old and wanted to see me fight."

"Now is time for the new athletes and talents to shine. It all ended how it started, with low kicks in Brazil."

UFC champ Jose Aldo also sent a message through social media after seeing one of his mentors retire from MMA.

"Congratulations on the win and excellent career which inspired many athletes as MYSELF!!", Aldo wrote on Instagram. "When I arrived from Manaus and was living in the gym, (I) wanted to be like you when I become a fighter, to have those powerful low kicks as Marco Ruas and yours, dreamed of being a UFC champion by knocking out just like you did."

"Thank you for everything Pedro Rizzo. Congratulations," Aldo stated.

Rizzo first fought for the UFC back in 1998, where he knocked out heavyweight star Tank Abbott. He then went on to face some of the best heavyweights in multiple eras. 'The Rock' compiled an overall MMA record of 20-11 and has wins over UFC champs Mark Coleman, Dan Severn, Ken Shamrock, Josh Barnett, Ricco Rodriguez and Andrei Arlovski.