The former UFC contender has decided to hang up the gloves following her submission loss at Saturday’s UFCFight Night 207. Herrig, who returned to the octagon after almost a two-year layoff due to injury, was submitted by Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the second round of their strawweight contest.
Immediately after the bout, Herrig (14-10 MMA, 5-5 UFC) left her gloves in the middle of the octagon and announced her retirement from the sport.
“It’s been an honor being in the UFC for eight years, and fighting for 20,” Herrig told Paul Felder in her in-cage, post-fight interview. “The biggest thing for me is I had two ACL surgeries and I really wanted to not go out like that. I really wanted to prove to myself that I can overcome two knee surgeries and come back and still fight at the highest level.
“I felt better than ever in training, my mind felt great and I had so much positive energy around me and great coaches. But I knew if I wasn’t feeling it in the cage, it was going to be my last fight. Not in a bad way, I just feel like there’s something else for me and it’s time to close this chapter of my life. Which is really sad, because I’ve committed the last 20 years to it. But it’s just time to move on to something else.”
Herrig says she’s done with MMA, but she’s not closing the door on all combat sports. Herrig, who went 23-5 as a professional kickboxer prior to starting MMA, is open to trying her hand at boxing is the opportunity comes around.
But as far as her MMA career, Herrig has mixed feelings. Not only did she lose the love for fighting in the cage, but she also feels like she could’ve achieved more than she did.
“I’m proud and I’m not proud,” Herrig said at the UFC Fight Night 207 post-fight press conference in regards to her career. “I feel like my anxiety for so long got, like my anxiety about the scale. I had a lot of eating disorders which helped me not perform so well. I had a lot of anxiety about the sport and the media. I was like I can’t way this in my interviews because they’ll take it like this. I feel like I could’ve done more.
“And I know I did a lot, but I think that’s what’s so hard. I’m leaving the sport like a physically capable human being. I’m not like a lot of people like, ‘Oh it’s time to hang up the gloves because this sloppy girl, her body has gone to sh*t. Everything has gone to sh*t.’ I physically feel great. I don’t know if the sport has worn on me. … If you’re not doing what you love anymore, then there’s no point of me staying.”
Herrig retires with 25 professional fights under her belt. She’s mainly known for her lengthy run in the UFC, but she also competed in other major organizations such as Bellator and Invicta FC.
Throughout her career, Herrig defeated notable opposition such as Alexa Grasso, Cortney Casey, Kailin Curran and others. She also earned one $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus and was in a co-main event of a UFC Fight night card.