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Andre Arlovski thought he’d be ‘a crying baby’ after UFC 303, plans to keep fighting until 48

Andre Arlovski isn’t done just yet.

At UFC 303, Arlovski fought for the final time in the UFC, losing a split decision to Martin Buday. The bout was Arlovski’s 42nd in the promotion, second all-time to Jim Miller, and only added to the various heavyweight records Arlovski holds, including fights, fight time, and significant strikes, among others. And heading into the bout, the former heavyweight champion says he knew it would be his final walk for the promotion.

“I knew it would be my last fight,” Arlovski said on The MMA Hour. “UFC proposed to do something but I didn’t want it because my chapter in the UFC is closed, but definitely not in my MMA career. That’s why I decided to do nothing. And yeah, it was last fight [in the UFC].

“That’s why I didn’t want to do any goodbye videos or whatever. But I do appreciate the UFC family, Dana [White], Hunter [Campbell]. [But] I’m not done fighting. I’m done with the UFC but I’m not done fighting.”

Arlovski was the last active UFC fighter who competed for the promotion before Zuffa LLC purchased it in 2001. Making his promotional debut at UFC 28 back in 2000, Arlovski spent most of the next 24 years under the UFC banner, save for a four-year stretch competing for a variety of promotions. That’s a long time to spend with one company. Even someone as stoic as “The Pitbull” wasn’t sure he’d be able to keep his emotions in check at UFC 303.

“Be honest with you, I thought I was going to be like a crying baby, I’m going to cry like a little bitch,” Arlovski said. “But as of today I sit down and this is not the end of life. Obviously I spent the biggest amount of time training and fighting in the UFC, but I didn’t sign a new contract with the UFC, I left the UFC, my chapter in the UFC is done, but life is not over.

“So like I said, I’m very excited, and actually I’m very happy with how I held [my feelings] when I left the octagon on my way back to the back to the doctor to check all the stuff from the fight. That was good.

“Of course, I got a little bit of emotion, and actually it’s funny, because right after the fight we got back to the hotel and First Round Management gave me a nice present, a nice ring with some diamonds and a pitbull logo. … [Abe Kawa] gave a speech and I got tears, I’m not going to lie, in my eyes.”

What comes next for Arlovski is still up in the air, though the former heavyweight champion insists he will keep fighting for a few more years.

“I want to beat a couple more records,” Arlovski said. “One, Bernard Hopkins, he fought at 48 in his last fight and he was a champion. He won that fight. Obviously Uncle Dana helped me to buy a new house, but I need to pay bills. I’ve got a newborn baby, so I need to do something a couple more years.”

Hopkins actually continued fighting into his 50s, even defending the IBF light heavyweight title until he was 49 years old, so at 45, Arlovski still has several years left to catch up to “The Executioner.” And given that, there’s also always the possibility that Arlovski may still return to UFC one day. He certainly is leaving the door open.

“My first UFC was UFC 28, and I actually thought if — it’s always a hope, right?” Arlovski said. “If I get another contract, I would love that my last fight in UFC would be UFC 328. 300 UFCs later. But who knows? We’ll see.”

But if that doesn’t happen, Arlovski is content with how his UFC career has played out, and has a lot of pride in what he’s accomplished.

“I can call myself really a fighter, I guess,” Arlovski said. “Fighting 24 years in the United States and almost 20 years in the best organization … 20 years in the best league. To see how it was in the beginning to right now, this is like, wow.”

Arlovski ends his UFC career with a record of 23-18 and one no-contest.

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