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‘It’s a big relief for sure’

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‘It’s a big relief for sure’

LAS VEGAS – If Raphael Assuncao lost at UFC Fight Night 212, it could’ve been his final fight.

But luckily for him, he’ll never know because he wasn’t faced with that decision. Instead, Assuncao (28-9 MMA, 15-8 UFC) defeated Victor Henry (22-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) by unanimous decision Saturday to snap a four-fight skid.

“It’s a big relief for sure. There are no other words there,” Assuncao told MMA Junkie and other reporters at a post-fight news conference. “… When I turned 40, either I’ll retire or I’ll give it one more shot to put myself to the test and start to do good about it.”

Assuncao has long been a perennial contender, but he admits with the string of losses doubt crept into his mind. He revealed a loss Saturday would’ve likely been his curtain call – at least at bantamweight.

“To be honest, probably (I would’ve retired),” Assuncao said. “Probably, just because, and I’m not being proud about it – I’m not being super proud about this – I would’ve probably made a switch to featherweight. I’m not positive if I would still be in the UFC. I don’t know. With five losses, it’s probably not a good number to be in the UFC. If I decided not to retire had I lost today, I probably would’ve moved up in weight class because I felt like I was losing muscle. It’s just mentalizing all these things. Unfortunately, you have to think of the loss. It worked out fine.”

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Mental adjustments, including a fresh start at Xtreme Couture, were the biggest changes for Assuncao, who visibly broke down inside the cage upon the official decision reading.

“As I showcased up in the cage there, (there) were a lot of emotions,” Assuncao said. “I was doing some math work over there. I haven’t won a fight since 2018. There were a lot of ups and downs, but we made it happen. I made some changes, as I mentioned also: new team, new camp, new everything. It worked out well. I’m very glad.”

Even with his UFC Fight Night 212 win, Assuncao thinks the end is likely near. He’s not done yet, but tries to soak in enjoyment in the twilight of his competitive career. While his competition will eventually cease, MMA will always be a part of his life in some capacity.

“We’re getting close to the end,” Assuncao said. “I don’t want to cry about this right now. We’re getting close to the end. I’ll definitely be (at Xtreme Couture), even if I’m not actively (competing). Like I said, if I decide to retire, I’ll still be around to help the guys.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 212.

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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