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Evan Dunham listening to his body, content with decision to retire after UFC Fight Night 137

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SAO PAULO – Evan Dunham has “no regrets” about his career despite going out in defeat at UFC Fight Night 137.

Dunham (18-8-1 MMA, 11-8-1 UFC) suffered a second-round knockout loss to Francisco Trinaldo (23-6 MMA, 13-5 UFC) at Saturday’s event, which took place at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. It spelled the end of a long tenure in the organization for the American, and although he didn’t get his desired result, he said he’s ready to walk away.

“I think I’ve prepared myself mentally pretty well for it,” Dunham told reporters, including MMAjunkie, during his post-fight scrum. “I knew going into it, win, lose or draw I was going to be proud of myself, and I already know what I’m going to do. … I have a responsibility to myself and the fighters coming up behind me, that when your body is telling you it’s time to quit, it’s time to hang it up. That’s what I’m doing, and I’m very happy with my career, and I wouldn’t change a single thing.”

Dunham, 37, handled himself well in the lightweight matchup with Trinaldo. In the second round, though, he took a quick, powerful knee to the liver as he was stepping in with a strike. Dunham immediately went down to the canvas and was in agony.

After the fight, Dunham noted his past three defeats have stemmed from strikes to the body. He took that as another sign his decision to walk away is the correct one.

“I think my body’s telling me, ‘Hey, listen, that’s enough,’” Dunham said. “When I went down I tried to fight it off, but anybody that’s been hit with a good body shot will tell you you’re not getting up.”

Dunham hangs up his gloves with 20 lightweight appearances and the records for most total and significant strikes landed in the history of the weight class. He’s had an up-and-down run dating back to his promotional debut in February 2009.

MMA retirements are known to sometimes be short-lived, but Dunham said his choice is permanent.

“No, I’m not coming back,” Dunham said. “I’m happy. I’ve got plans, I’ve got things already set up and knowing what I want to do. I’m very grateful for the UFC. It gave me a great platform to grow myself as an individual, to make the money to do certain things that I’ve wanted to do. So I have no intentions of coming back at all. I’m extremely happy. I’m ready to move on.”

He added, “I’ve got a few things in motion. I’m going to spend a lot of time in my gym and some other businesses I’m going to be starting and working on. I’m just looking forward to putting in all the hard work that I’ve put in through the years. I’m known to work hard, and I’m going to take that and apply it to other aspects of my life. And spend a lot of time with my family. I’m happy.”

Although Dunham certainly would have preferred a victory in his final fight at UFC Fight Night 137, it’s perhaps a fitting close to his career. He’s had plenty of positive moments, but when reflecting back on his run, Dunham said it’s the defeats that stand out.

“The highest point was probably losses,” Dunham said. “The (Sean) Sherk fight, the (T.J.) Grant fight, the (Rafael) dos Anjos fight. All losses, but all great fights that I pride myself in. There’s too many to count. I’m happy with it.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 137, check out the UFC Events section of the site.



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