HOUSTON — Roxanne Modafferi has a lot of reasons to hang up the gloves, her future health being one of them.
“The Happy Warrior” competes in her final MMA fight this Saturday at UFC 271, the culmination of an 18-year fight career and what will be 50 pro bouts (including exhibition bouts from two stints on The Ultimate Fighter). The 39-year-old has spent much of the lead-up to her fight with Casey O’Neill discussing her impending retirement and Wednesday’s UFC 271 media day was no different.
“There were multiple reasons, which is why I feel comfortable making this decision,” Modafferi said of the timing of her decision. “One was that I feel like I used to wake up at 4 a.m. full of energy, like let’s eat breakfast, let’s go for a jog, let’s do push-ups. Now I’m waking up at six like, I don’t really want to go have mortal combat at 10 a.m. Like, my body just doesn’t feel like it. I really want to focus more on jiu-jitsu, I keep feeling that urge, rather than let’s punch each other.
“Also, I feel like, in training, after a hard sparring session I started getting headaches, and I don’t want to go down that path of brain trauma. I think I’ve been lucky to have 49 fights and not have brain trauma. So I started wearing head gear and that problem got better. But it sucks to train in head gear because people grab it and I’m getting choked by the head gear strap around my neck.
“So it’s not as fun anymore as it used to be, so I want to be able to give 100 percent to my fight camps, and I feel like I might not be able to moving forward. So I feel like now’s a good time to change my life.”
Watch Modafferi’s full media day scrum above, which includes how she feels having to deal with all of the retirement talk from media and fans, and what she enjoyed most about fighting.