Ryan Janes has decided to hang up his gloves for good.
The UFC middleweight told BloodyElbow.com on Tuesday that he is retiring from mixed martial arts. Janes said he actually made the decision earlier this year, but didn’t make a public announcement because he was unsure whether it was “relevant.”
Janes, who most recently defeated Andrew Sanchez by third-round TKO in a come-from-behind victory last December, said once he had his first child in March, he had to put MMA on the back-burner.
He signed a new deal with the UFC and received a few fight offers closer to the beginning of the year, but turned them down to take care of his newborn baby and support his partner. After a few months on the sidelines, Janes concluded that focusing on his day job — which he had for the entirety of his UFC career — and closing the door on fighting was “financially” a smarter and less risky path.
“I had to make the decision that it wasn’t worth it for me to [fight again],” Janes said. “As nice as that extra money is, my career is more important, so I had to step away.”
Janes, 37, went 2-2 in the UFC and leaves the sport with an overall 10-3 professional record. His career highlight was undoubtedly his win over Sanchez. He was knocked down — and nearly knocked out — about a minute into the first round. Known for his heart and durable chin, Janes managed to return to his feet, clear his head, and continue fighting. Momentum started shifting his way as Sanchez tired, and Janes ended up finishing his opponent with strikes in the third round.
Had he lost, Janes’ losing streak would have been extended to three in a row and he likely would have been released from the promotion. Janes knew that, but he was going in thinking it was probably his last fight either way.
“I kind of expected it to be my last,” Janes said. ... “Having the kid, I knew it would’ve made me think about retiring, anyway. I knew there was a possibility I wouldn’t be able to make it back.”
A grappling specialist, Janes made his pro MMA debut in 2008. He was active in the Canadian regional circuit until a seven-fight winning streak punched his ticket to the UFC in 2016. Janes, who lives in Victoria, B.C., debuted against Keith Berish at the end of that year, winning by decision.
Janes, who historically took a lot of shots in his fights, said concerns surrounding brain damage was also a factor in his decision to retire from MMA.
“It can’t not be a part of it,” he said. “My girlfriend was like, ‘I don’t want you to have dementia when you’re 50 years old and not be able to be there for your kid.’
“I know for a fact that I do have some effects from getting punched all the time. You can tell. You just kind of lose words every now and then. I’m saying something, then I’m like, ‘Ah, what word was I thinking of?’”
Janes said he accomplished everything he set out to do in his MMA career — including being a ranked middleweight in Canada, simply just making it to the UFC, and being the first Newfoundland native in the UFC. He is ultimately satisfied with how his career turned out and has no intentions of ever coming back to the sport.
“My bar was just to make it to the UFC and have a few good fights,” Janes said. “That was kind of it for me. I was happy with that. If I had the idea that I’d be a champion, then maybe I’d be not fulfilled with it and I’d still be searching for something.
“The adrenaline you get from fighting, coming out, being in front of people, performing, that’s enjoyable, but I can also take or leave it. It’s not really that important to me. I don’t think that there’s any chance of me coming back. I’m pretty sure I’m done.”
Janes plans to still train jiu-jitsu and hopes to compete starting next year.
“That’s my love and passion,” he said of jiu-jitsu. “I’ll do that for the rest of my life. I’ll get my kid into it. That’s what I want.
“I love to compete, obviously. I think jiu-jitsu and jiu-jitsu competitions will kind of fill that void, definitely in a situation where now I can diet, but I don’t have to cut weight. I can train on my own time. When a jiu-jitsu competition is coming up, I can dedicate more of my time to it. I can be a bit more organized.”
Janes works for the British Columbia government as a web developer. That’s how he paid most of his bills throughout his UFC career and how he’ll continue to do so in his life after fighting.
“We’re just developing some new tools that we’ll be using in-house to help our operation,” Janes said of his full-time job. “There’s not much I can really say. It’s very new and we haven’t announced it within the government yet.”