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Former UFC strawweight title challenger Claudia Gadelha retires from MMA

Gadelha fought over a year ago and has been inactive since. 

Claudia Gadelha has decided to retire from mixed martial arts.

Gadelha was removed from official UFC rankings on Friday afternoon, with no reason for her removal being given at the time. In a report from Guilherme Cruz and Damon Martin of MMA Fighting, it was then revealed that the former one-time strawweight title challenger notified promotion officials of her intention to retire from competition.

Gadelha has addressed her retirement in a near 30-minute video posted on Instagram.

“In November of 2020, after the [Xiaonan] fight, I had a really bad concussion and I had a post-concussion syndrome, which is the symptoms of a concussion for a long period of time,” said Gadelha. “I was suffering from the symptoms for a little while. It was very frustrating because my headaches were like a knife stabbing me in the back of my head. I was very nauseous. I was throwing up and feeling very, very bad. I couldn’t even go for a walk. I couldn’t train, it was very frustrating. So, I took some time away from the sport and I started studying nutrition at IIN [Institute for Integrative Nutrition] and I kind of fell in love with nutrition and with health and performance and I started studying other things because I needed education for something else in my life. I am a very energetic person, so I need to do something else.”

She also explained that she tried to return to training, but was riddled with anxiety from being hit in the head during sparring sessions after her experience with post-concussion syndrome, which saw her hospitalized twice. After Gadelha spent more time thinking about resuming her career, the UFC offered her a job as a liaison with incoming Brazilian talent. She accepted the offer.

Following an undefeated run on the Brazilian circuit, Gadelha signed with and competed under the Invicta Fighting Championships banner. She made her debut at Invicta FC 6: Coenen vs. Cyborg and finished Ayaka Hamasaki via third-round technical knockout. The Brazilian joined the UFC a year later, and took part in the first-ever strawweight fight in UFC history at UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Miller. Gadelha went on to defeat Tina Lähdemäk by unanimous decision in her first Octagon appearance.

Gadelha suffered a loss to Joanna Jedrzejczyk and scored a win over Jessica Aguilar in her next two outings before being given a championship opportunity opposite of her former opponent in Jedrzejczyk. Both women served as the coaches for Season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter and fought after filming concluded at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale, where Gadelha was bested again by Jedrzejczyk.

The 33-year-old continued fighting and earned wins over notable names such as Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Carla Esparza and Angela Hill. Gadelha fought for the final time against Yan Xiaonan at UFC on ESPN: Santos vs. Teixeira and dropped a unanimous decision.

Gadelha completes her career with an overall record of 18-5.