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Cyril Diabate retires after 22-year combat sports career

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Esther Lin

Heading into his UFC Fight Night 37 bout against Ilir Latifi, Cyrille Diabate dropped strong hints that Saturday's nights contest at London's O2 Arena could be his last.

After losing to Latifi via first-round submission, the 40-year old Diabate made it official. After a 22-year kickboxing and mixed martial arts career, Diabate is stepping away from combat sports.

"This was my last," Diabate said at the post-fight press conference. "I've been fighting 22 years in various combat sports. I've had a fantastic career, I've enjoyed myself, that's the most important part, enjoying yourself."

After starting off as a kickboxer, where he amassed a record of 41-8-2 with 31 knockouts, Diabate added MMA to his plate, where he also found success. In a career which took him from Rings to Cage Rage to PRIDE to the UFC, he amassed an MMA record of 19-10-1.

"I've got plans, I want to open up a team in central Paris," Diabate said. "I've got some acting to do, I've put so many things to the side for 23 years. When you want to be a professional fighter and be at this level, you have to have 100 percent focus and be 100 percent fighter in your mind, so, it's time to move on."

He leaves with no regrets.

"I was at the top in kickboxing in Muay Thai," Diabate said. "I switched to MMA at one point in my career and I was at the top. I fought in PRIDE and I fought in UFC."