New Zealand lightweight Brad “Quake” Riddell has announced that he’s set to step away from MMA competition following his submission defeat at UFC 281.

Riddell, who arrived in the UFC in 2019 and reeled off four consecutive victories, saw his form fall away at the end of 2021 with a knockout loss to Rafael Fiziev marking the start of a three-fight skid that saw subsequent submission losses to Jalin Turner and, in New York, Renato Moicano.

Riddell, a staple of the City Kickboxing team in Auckland, was looking to right the ship and set himself up for a potentially big fight early in 2023, but his third straight defeat led him to take a different approach to his fighting career.

Posting to his Instagram page, Riddell, said, “I appreciate everyone that has been supporting me and standing by my side from day one though to these last two lacklustre performances.

“I’m going to step away from competing in MMA for a good while until the fire to compete comes back. I’m not performing close to my capability, and it’s a dangerous job if you’re not fully present.”

Riddell has been an active competitor in combat sports since his made his kickboxing debut in 2009. But now, he said the time has come to hit pause on his career as he looks rest, recuperate and, eventually, rekindle the aforementioned fire he had earlier in his career.

“I’ve been training hard for 15 years, in and out of camps with not enough rest or balance, and it’s massively taken its physical and mental toll on me,” he explained.

“There has not been a year since I was 17 that I have not fought.

“I know this is the right choice because, as I write this, I feel a sense of relief for finally voicing what I had been feeling for a while.

“I wanted to have one last crack at MSG to see if the feelings from the last camp were just one-off, but sadly they were not. It’s a hard pill to swallow, as this is what I’ve done my entire life and fighting was my first love. But sometimes you just have to face it.
There are a few overdue surgeries to be addressed, as well.”

Despite his current rough patch, Riddell’s MMA record remains a stellar one, at 10 wins, four losses, and he left the door open for a return to competition at some point in the future. But, for now, his priorities lie elsewhere.

“I will keep training and teaching, but my energy that was all consumed by the sport will be directed at my family,” he said.

“The itch will come back, But a long time off is needed.

“I appreciate everyone always supporting me.”