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Khalil Rountree Jr. cancels retirement plans, announces new deal with UFC

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Last December UFC light heavyweight Khalil Rountree Jr. announced he would retire from MMA.

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UFC Fight Night: Cutelaba v Rountree Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Back in December UFC light heavyweight Khalil Rountree took to instagram to announce that his next fight would be his last. Rountree was then booked to face Sam Alvey on March 28th. Then... COVID-19.

Rountree vs. Alvey was one of the many fight cancellations to come about when the UFC’s schedule was shredded thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The fight was originally booked for UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Rozenstruik in Columbus, OH. That event was canceled and much of the bouts were moved to the UFC’s temporary bubble in Jacksonville, FL.

However, Rountree vs. Alvey was never rescheduled. And so many assumed Rountree’s retirement would go ahead without a ceremonial last fight.

But now, it appears as though Rountree’s last fight will not happen for sometime. This week ‘War Horse’ took to instagram, again, to reveal that he had signed a new multi-fight contract with the UFC.

“I’m extremely happy to announce that I’ve decided to extend my contract with the UFC and will be making my return at the start of 2021,” wrote Rountree. “After being away from the sport for over one year now it feels like I have the opportunity to start fresh. I’m back in the game 100% like I’ve just begun, ready to put on the most exciting fights you’ve seen from me yet.”

“I’ve had lots of down time to reflect, reinvent and tighten my circle,” continued Rountree. “I’ve taken the time to look at myself from the inside out and I’ve shared with you all the ups and downs publicly. Now it’s time to bite down and fight harder than ever. I’m ready, and you should be too.”

Rountree ended his post with an appeal for brands and sponsors to work with in the near future.

After a 4-0 run in RFA to start his career, Rountree joined the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter. He was a contestant on TUF: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia in 2016. He was initially knocked out of the elimination round of the competition, but he made it to he house after Cory Hendricks withdrew with a neck injury. Rountree then made it to the tournament final.

In the final Rountree was defeated by Andrew Sanchez. Next he lost, via submission, to Tyson Pedro. Rountree’s first UFC wins came in 2017, over Daniel Jolly and then Paul Craig (both by KO).

Rountree then fought a no contest with Michal Oleksiejczuk (originally a victory for Oleksiejczuk , but was overturned after a positive test for domiphene). After that Rountree TKO’d kickboxing legend Gokhan Saki at UFC 226 in July, 2018.

After the Saki win Rountree was booked against the little known Johnny Walker. He lost via KO and, after a decision win over Eryk Anders, suffered another stoppage loss—this time to Ion Cutelabe in September 2019.

In July it was rumoured that Rountree would return and fight Greg Hardy, at heavyweight. However, an ‘upset’ Rountree later claimed that this report was false.

The 30-year-old Rountree’s record currently stands at 8-4 (1).