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UFC lightweight Cristiano Marcello retires from MMA

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It’s the end of the road for Cristiano Marcello.

Marcello announced the end of his career as a MMA fighter, and the 36-year-old veteran is happy with his decision. The Brazilian, who competed at UFC, PRIDE and TUF, leaves the sport with a 13-6 record.

"I’m going to be honest with you, I was always a coach before I was a fighter since the old days," Marcello told MMAFighting.com. "I always wanted to help the Chute Boxe fighters be who they are, make them world champions at PRIDE, and my career as a fighter was always in second place. My athletes first, and I was able to do 19 fights at the biggest promotions around the world, but now it’s time to focus on my legacy with CM System."

A jiu-jistu black belt under Royler Gracie, Marcello coached the likes of Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva, Murilo Ninja, Mauricio Shogun and Jose Pele Landi-Jons at Chute Boxe, and currently runs his own gym in Curitiba, Brazil.

"I was never able to focus 100 percent in my career as a fighter, and it is the time to retire," he said. "You need to know when it’s time to stop. UFC is not the kind of place you can be if you’re 100% focused in it. My mind was always at CM System at the same time that I had to think about my fights in the UFC.

"I want to be the best coach in the world. I want to make CM System the best gym in the world."

Marcello, who entered the UFC after competing at the 15th season of The Ultimate Fighter, retires with a 1-3 record inside the Octagon, but plans to compete in other sports.

"I fought from 155 to 190 pounds in a time that vale-tudo didn’t pay much money. I’m happy with what I did, and I always made a good money teaching guys like Anderson, Shogun and Wanderlei. I think that I made the right choice, but maybe I would have gone further in MMA if I haven’t opted to be a coach as well.

"I never quit, I always went for the finish. I’m a jiu-jitsu guy, but I went for a war every time I step inside a cage. I’m happy with everything I did. I competed in everything, from jiu-jitsu to MMA to muay thai to wrestling to submission. I won’t fight MMA now, but I want to continue fighting at ADCC, Metamoris, Copa Podio. I can’t fight MMA anymore because I can’t focus 100 percent on it. I always did my best, always fought to the end."