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TUF Brazil winner Leonardo Santos announces retirement following UFC 278 loss to Jared Gordon

UFC 278: Usman v Edwards 2
Leonardo Santos
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2 welterweight winner Leonardo Santos has retired from MMA following a decision defeat to Jared Gordon at UFC 278 on Aug. 20, he announced Thursday night on social media.

Santos leaves the sport on a three-fight skid to Grant Dawson, Clay Guida and Gordon, bringing his professional record to 18-6-1. At one point during his UFC run, Santos was unbeaten in eight consecutive bouts against the likes of Kevin Lee and Anthony Rocco Martin.

“A topic that felt so distance for me is now present in my life,” Santos wrote in Portuguese. “One of the toughest decisions in an athlete’s life is to decide the right moment to retire. Talking about MMA is not just the three or five rounds where he has to face the bright lights and the interviews, it’s about our daily habits, the time with our families and the choices we make for our lifestyles. There’s no half-athlete. You’re either 100 percent in or you’re out. I was 100 percent in as of yesterday.

“You’ve probably understood by know and you’re correct, I’m retiring. Not because I don’t love the sport anymore. I love martial arts and always will. However, I’m feeling this is the right moment to stop. I look back and see what I’ve accomplished in many years of my career and it wasn’t little. I got where every fighter wants to be, the world’s biggest promotion, the UFC! But I must look ahead. Thank God I have nothing left to prove to anyone.

“This is my decision. I always wanted it to be on my terms and not imposed by others. It’s the decision I made to live from now on. And it certainly won’t come without reservations, memories and thoughts, at least a bit of every single one of those elements, because I will definitely miss all of this, the events, all this atmosphere, and camps, everything and all related to this, related to my career.”

Santos defeated future 205-pound contender Thiago Santos via decision on TUF: Brazil 2 in 2013. He lost a semifinal bout to Santiago Ponzinibbio, but advanced to the reality show final as a replacement and tapped William Macario to capture the trophy.

The Nova União representative made his MMA debut in 2001 but only focused full-time in the sport after winning major jiu-jitsu titles in Brazil between 2002 and 2005. Santos scored wins against Georges St-Pierre, Fredson Paixao and Leonardo Vieira in grappling competition.

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