Melvin Manhoef has seen it all.
The veteran is set to retire from MMA after facing Yoel Romero at Bellator 285 in the co-main event. The card takes place from the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland, airing live on Showtime.
For Manhoef, this is the perfect time to step away.
“Yeah, I think it’s going to be it. Why now?” he said. “It’s the last fight of the contract for Bellator. I think I’ve done a lot of things, and I think this is a great opponent to say farewell to all the fans. This is going to be a great fight, and the fans will be the winner. I hope it’s going to be like a Cyborg fight: just go in there and bang.
“I think it’s time. But for everybody, I really feel alive when I was doing this training camp. I’ve been doing this for 28 years now, so it’s hard, but I have to leave it to the next generation.”
The 46-year-old began his mixed martial arts career in 1995 with a knockout in the Netherlands. A year later, he made his kickboxing debut in the same country.
Over the years, he has amassed a record of 38-14 in kickboxing and 32-15-1 in MMA, including wins in Bellator, ONE Championship and Dream.
“I was here cornering, and the crowd was amazing. I said ‘Hey, I want to fight here.’ It was a pity I couldn’t fight in Paris, but now I get to fight in Ireland,” he said. “It’s special if you’re fighting on this card. For me, it’s a good moment. I have a lot of people coming from Holland to support me and to be here at the last one.”