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UFC vet Bethe Correia: ‘90 percent’ of fighters quit MMA because of ‘psychological torture’

UFC veteran and former title challenger Bethe Correia opened up about the “psychological torture” she endured as a fighter.

UFC veteran Bethe Correia has had her share of ups and downs. She made a strong impression in her first three UFC fights as a 9-0 competitor before running into Ronda Rousey in 2015.

From there, “Pitbull” has mainly been on a skid, only winning two of her next eight fights. In 2021, Correia fought out what would be her final MMA fight at UFC Vegas 38 against fellow Brazilian Karol Rosa and lost via decision.

In January, the 38-year-old Correia brought up the idea of possibly entering bare-knuckle boxing and jiu-jitsu but affirmed that her retirement from MMA is final. In a recent guesting on MMAFighting.com’s Trocação Franca podcast, she explained why.

“I felt physically well, but I think it was more of the mental [aspect],” Correia said. “A time comes when you can’t take it anymore. I think 90 percent of the athletes that stop fighting MMA do it because of the psychological pressure.

“We always think we can do it, that our bodies are conditioned to fight, but it’s such a psychological torture, it’s not fun anymore. When it gets to that point, MMA becomes a bit dangerous. You can have an irreversible injury.”

Correia says she saw a difference in her experiences in the gym. That, for her, pushed the idea of calling it quits.

“Training wasn’t pleasurable anymore,” she said. “I couldn’t stand people demanding me high performance and doing everything perfect. I got more sad than happy [after training].

“In the past, I saw it as a challenge. ‘I’ll be better tomorrow, I’ll train better tomorrow.’ Then I started going home sad, had no desire to train, and that’s bad. When you get to that point, it’s no longer pleasurable for you.

“I was afraid of injuring my eyes again and having to undergo surgery one more time. That made me worry about protecting my eyes [more than anything] during training. The problem isn’t the fight, that’s only 15 minutes. The problem is training hard every single day.”

Correia ended her MMA career with a record of 11-6-1.