Ahead of Retirement Fight, Gabe Ruediger Reflects on Career

By Sherdog.com Staff May 31, 2013
Gabe Ruediger

Gabe Ruediger is retiring from MMA, but not until he has one last fight Friday against Scott Catlin at BAMMA USA “Badbeat 9.”

Ahead of the matchup, Ruediger joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to reflect on his career.

On why he’s retiring: “I just feel like it’s time to finish it up. It’s been an 11-year run. I’ve had some ups, some downs, and it’s a good time to end my career. I’ve gone through two major surgeries. I had my neck fused in 2008. I had back surgery in 2011. I just can’t handle anymore physical damage.”

On his career: “I’ve spent 11 years doing this. I’ve done a lot. I was a two-time world champion in the WEC and the PFC. I fought in the UFC. I didn’t have the success in the UFC that I wanted, but I got there twice after a lot of adversity. After ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ people were saying I’d never fight in the UFC again, that I was a joke and this and that. I came back from neck surgery and won the PFC title and then went back to the UFC. I’ve done a lot and I’m OK with going out on my terms.”

On what he would do differently regarding TUF: “The entertainment aspect of it is the biggest part of it. I came in as a character. I was myself, but it was me on level 15 … and then you add editing to that. I definitely would have gone in in a completely different mindset. I would have gone in in fighting shape, ready to fight that day. In my mind I was thinking reality show. I wasn’t thinking, ‘This is a fight.’ It didn’t even feel like a fight.”

On whether deciding to retire has been an emotional decision: “It’s actually been kind of serene. I feel very calm. I’ll still train. I just won’t train with the intensity necessary for a fight camp. I have two schools, so I’m with my students all the time. I’m trying to build them and I still do a lot of mat time, but again the intensity that’s necessary to get ready for a fight, I just can’t do that anymore. It’s just not realistic.”

On whether he sees his career as a success: “It was in the respect that I never expected it to be a career. When I had my first fight in 2002, I fought for $250. I had no expectations of fighting as a career, to be a fighter. In that respect, yeah, it has been. Obviously I’ve had some huge pitfalls, but I’ve done a lot of things that 98 percent of the fighters will never do. In that respect, I’m grateful and I do feel like I’ve had a successful career.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:15:27).
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