Tomorrow at UFC Fight Night 37, MMA fans will bid farewell to longtime combat sports veteran, Cyrille Diabate. Diabate has been competing in kickboxing and MMA for 20 years now, and at the ripe age of 40, has decided to call it a career.
Diabate takes on Ilir Latifi tomorrow in the main event of the UFC Fight Pass prelims. In his last bout, Diabate took on Jimi Manuwa and suffered a calf tear that nearly ended his career. Diabate stated that the injury almost forced him to retire, but he refused to go out that way: (Courtesy of MMAJunkie):
At one point, just after the fight, I called it quits in my mind. I gave up. I’ve been doing this 20-plus years, and it’s just frustrating to go through a camp of two and a half months, three months, and then to fight like that with that injury. Plus, the pain was just unbearable.
Pride definitely made me go back to fighting. I thought to myself, ‘I can’t go out like that. This can’t be the end of my career.’ It was definitely motivation to continue and end up with a big performance.
Diabate will get one last chance to make his mark in the minds of UFC fans tomorrow. When he does officially retire, he will leave the sport with a 19–9–1 record not including tomorrow’s bout. Diabate went 4-3 in his UFC career with notable victories over Luiz Cane and Chad Griggs.