After an illustrious thirteen year career Brad Pickett hung up his gloves for good, as he stepped in the Octagon for the last time to fight late replacement Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night 107 in London.
The British fighter secured both rounds one and two on the judge’s scorecards landing the significant and more damaging strikes as well as controlling the fight on the ground for a good portion of the bout; however it was not meant to be when Pickett’s fairy-tale ending came crashing down in the third and final round. With only a minute left of the bout “One Punch” looked on course to bow out with a win until Vera landed a head kick which dropped him to the canvas and earned himself a stoppage victory.
The 38-year-old could have easily played the final chapters of the fight safe and looked to take his opponent to the mat where he had earlier success. However despite being within touching distance of that final win on his professional record Pickett has no regrets sticking by his all or nothing attitude.
“It’s me it’s my fighting style, live by the sword die by the sword,” Pickett told the media at the UFC Fight Night 107 post-fight conference. “Like I said, I fight for the fans. I could’ve maybe, I didn’t have trouble taking him down when I went for the takedown so I could’ve just taken him down laid on him and make it boring. But for me, I wanted to be in a typical Brad Pickett fight and a typical Brad Pickett fight would’ve been to get up from that and kept on fighting but unfortunately my age didn’t let me get up as quick as I could, you know. I told the referee before the fight, ‘let me go stiff,’ and I felt I was okay a little bit but obviously I have to look at it back. I love [referee] Grant Waterman, and I know he’s got a job to do.”
Although “One Punch” was on course to walk away with a decision victory and potentially could have if he played the last round differently, he believes last night’s outcome only confirmed that his decision to walk away from the sport in a fighting sense, was the right one.
“It just shows basically I made the right decision before going into this fight,” Pickett said. “I was winning the fight for 14 minutes and then I got head kicked. And to be honest, the younger me would’ve chewed that up and just carried on going. So it’s definitely the right decision and obviously, it’s not the fairy tale ending that myself and probably everybody else wanted. I think everyone in there was rooting for me to win apart from Marlon and his corner, but I’m happy for him, he gets to feed his kids.”
Pickett on his plans to stay in the sport after retirement
Despite leaving his hat in the centre of the Octagon, Pickett lives and breathes the sport of MMA and hopes he can stay involved and give something back to the sport. Pickett is a known pioneer of UK MMA has enjoyed a seven-year stint with the UFC and expressed his interest in staying with the company that has supported him for the last chapter of his career.
“This sport is my life, I would love to stay involved in the sport,” Pickett said. “One of my passions would be top open my gym in South London and pass my knowledge onto the young, aspiring athletes, and also, I love this company so I don’t know maybe if I speak to the right people there’s somewhere for me. I love this sport, this sport is my life and I definitely don’t want to leave this sport.”
When Brad Pickett first began his MMA career, it was barely known in the UK, let alone a viable career path financially. After last night however and stand-out performances from a number of British fighters, Pickett feels he is leaving the sport in a very strong position and is glad to have played his part in the growth of UK MMA.
“I’ve left the sport in a really good spot; you just saw tonight some great young talent Arnold Allen and Marc Diakiese, two studs you know. Jimmy Manuwa tonight headlining and winning, the UK MMA scene is in a great place and if I’ve been some sort of part of it throughout my career I’m happy you know.”