Two decades later, Evangelista Santos’ MMA career has come to an end.
The Brazilian striker, who competed for some of the biggest promotions in the world during his 50-fight career, told MMA Fighting on Monday that he won’t enter a cage anymore.
"Cyborg" last competed in July of 2016, when Michael Page landed a vicious flying knee that fractured the Santos’ skull at Bellator 158. After the surgery, the Brazilian said he was planning on coming back and fighting a few more times, but decided not to risk his health.
“I'm feeling really well, never felt anything (after the surgery), but I don’t think I will fight again,” Santos told MMA Fighting. “I don’t want to risk getting an aftereffect for the rest of my life and don’t be able to pass on my knowledge, and give work to my family.”
Since making his professional debut on Sept. 7, 1996, “Cyborg" says he collected 32 victories and suffered 18 defeats — and says that not all of his fights are listed on the official records. He includes some of his losses among the greatest moments os his career.
“Cyborg” once fought for the Strikeforce welterweight championship, losing to Nick Diaz by first-round submission. The list of popular names the Brazilian fought also includes Melvin Manhoef, Mauricio Rua, Gegard Mousasi, Francis Carmont and Yuki Kondo.
“The championship fights, my fights with Diaz and Melvin,” he lists, "the knockouts over Gabriel Gladiador, my seven-second knockout over Silvio Urutum at Meca 7, the IVC 14 tournament with 16 heavyweights in Venezuela, and the 8-man tournaments I’ve fought were fights that marked my career.
“I want to be remembered as someone who dedicated his life to the sport he loves and always gave his best, and never picked opponents.”
Santos won’t fight professionally anymore, but won’t leave the sport. The MMA veteran will continue running Chute Boxe’s gym in Texas, and also head the Minas Gerais’ muay thai federation. “Cyborg" will also focus on working with young amateur and professional athletes in Uberlandia, Minas Gerais.
“My plan was to fight again this year, and fight 10 more times in MMA, but not everything goes as we plan,” Santos said. “But I feel I’ve fought some of the best fighters in the world, and not I will help create champions.
“I want to thank Scott Coker and all employees from Bellator, who always cared about me and respected me and my work,” he added. “I want to thank Chute Boxe and everyone who believed in me; my family, my friends and coaches. I don’t regret anything I’ve done or hasn’t done. I want to do my best as a coach now."