James Krause isn’t necessarily retiring from competition, but there’s also a chance he’s fought in the UFC octagon for the last time.
The veteran welterweight, who has been a part of the UFC roster since 2013, revealed during an appearance on The Fighter vs. The Writer that he’s no longer looking to book any fights for himself these days as he makes a full-time transition into coaching and running his gym, Glory MMA.
According to Krause, he’s still potentially available for a short-notice opportunity, like the offer he made to face Chris Curtis just recently with only 24 hours remaining until the event took place. But otherwise, he’s not seeking out the UFC matchmakers to book him against an opponent.
“I haven’t told anybody that I’m retiring, but I’m not really actively looking to fight or anything like that,” Krause said. “I don’t know. It’s weird. I’ve said this quite a bit. There’s three things that I wanted at the end of this whole thing.
“One, I wanted to go out on a win. Two, I wanted to go out on my terms. I didn’t want to have the UFC say, ‘Hey man, you’ve lost three in a row, we’re going to cut you,’ or whatever. One of those nudge, nudge things where the fighter just doesn’t realize he should have been done a long time ago. We see it all the time. Lastly, I just wanted to create some financial freedom from the sport of MMA. I’ve done all three of those things. If I left today, all three of those things are accomplished.”
Krause’s last fight took place in October 2020 with the veteran picking up a unanimous decision win over Claudio Silva, which brought his record to 7-1 over his last eight fights, with Krause’s only loss coming via controversial split decision in a short-notice fight against Trevin Giles at 185 pounds.
Another opportunity like the Giles fight is probably the only way that Krause will end up competing again, which is why he’s not ready to use a word like retirement regarding his fight career.
“I’m not saying I’m done,” Krause said. “Obviously, I’ll jump in on a day’s notice. That just seems easier for me. I train everyday. It is what it is. I enjoy coaching. I’m like 70-something fights, pro and amateur. October of this year was actually my 15th year fighting since my first fight. At some point, you’ve got to be done.
“I’ve always said I wanted to quit a little bit early rather than a little bit late. Once again, I’m not saying I’m done fighting but I’m also not actively looking to fight either. I don’t know what that means, but if I was done today, if I never fight again, I’d be happy with what I’ve done as a fighter and I would be even more happy with the transition into building a team and coaching.”
Lately, Krause has still been a fixture during UFC broadcasts, except he’s working a corner as he’s been coaching a growing list of fighters coming out of his Kansas City based gym.
As much as he personally loved competing, Krause admits he’s getting much more enjoyment out of watching his fighters succeed, which helps him know that he could potentially never compete again yet he’d still have just as much fun with the sport.
“I think a lot of time what the problem is with the fighters is this is one of the hardest sports in the world to quit because they want that drug,” Krause explained. “They want that highest high and they don’t want to go out on the lowest low. So they’re constantly seeking the drug again. For me, I’m still getting the drug. It’s just I’m getting it differently now. It’s an easy segue into coaching for me. I’m still heavily involved in the sport. I’m still at the fights.
“As a competitor, I’m still being fulfilled from the MMA standpoint. Honestly, more so even. You can watch me at the end of my fights. I don’t smile. It’s not a big deal to me. I’ve been fighting for 15 years and I’m not saying I’m not happy to win or anything like that, but watch me after one of my wins and then watch me after one of my people wins. It’s different. I get much more fulfilled out of watching other people’s success than I do my own.”
Coaching has always been a passion for Krause, but now it requires a lot more of his time and he couldn’t be happier with the decisions he’s made regarding his career.
Krause never touted himself as a future champion, and aspiring to win UFC gold wasn’t a primary mission after he decided to become a professional fighter.
But one day Krause hopes to train and coach a world champion, because that would mean far more to him than anything he ever did on his own in the cage.
“I do [like coaching more than fighting],” Krause said. “In the grand scheme of things, it gets tough at times, travel and stuff like that. I’ve been on the road. This is my first weekend off in a long time, probably 10 weeks, 11 weeks.
“So I’m on the road almost every weekend, so that can get a little tedious, but everything is in moderation. Water is great, but if you have too much, it can kill you. Everything is good in moderation. But overall, I do love coaching more than I love fighting.”