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Spike Carlyle explains why he’s ‘stoked’ about UFC release, says RIZIN would be top option for next home

UFC Fight Night: Carlyle v Algeo Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Although Spike Carlyle is no longer on the UFC roster, he believes it’s a blessing in disguise.

The exciting featherweight competitor confirmed that he was released from the UFC, confirming an earlier report from MMA Fighting. “The Alpha Ginger” began his octagon run with a short-notice TKO win over Aalon Cruz at UFC Norfolk in February 2020 before dropping his next two fights to Billy Quarantillo and Bill Algeo.

“I had one more fight on my contract and they decided to cut me,” Carlyle said during an Instagram Live over the weekend. “They said it was partially based on my last performance. It’s a little bitter, but it’s also [very] sweet. I’m actually pretty stoked on it.

“The UFC was a great experience and great opportunity. I loved it. But people who truly know me know that my heart’s desire has always been to fight in Japan, [and] that is my goal. I think God maybe ordained everything to happen as so because who knows if I would’ve won my next fight—which I know I would’ve won my next fight—or if I would’ve stayed with the UFC, I might never have the opportunity to go to Japan.”

After the 27-year-old’s upset win in his octagon debut, Carlyle took part in a chaotic battle with Quarantillo at UFC on ESPN 9 in September where he lost a unanimous decision. The 145-pound slugfest delivered in an incredible back and forth war that many pundits believe should’ve earned “Fight of the Night” honors, which it ultimately did not.

Carlyle signed with the UFC with an 8-1 record on the regional scene, including stoppage wins for LFA and Combate Americas. With his eye on competing in Japan, there is one organization that sticks out above all others.

“I’m no longer a UFC fighter. I’m a free agent,” Carlyle stated. “My dream and No. 1 desire is to fight for RIZIN, possibly Bellator because they co-host events and that way I can do the best of both worlds. The goal is to become a Japanese champion and fight the American champion, a RIZIN-Bellator combination so hopefully it comes together.

“I’m trying to get on the March 14 card in Tokyo so we’ll see what God wants to do.”

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