Bellator 285: All-time knockout artist Melvin Manhoef expects to retire after fight with Yoel Romero


What a run it has been for Melvin Manhoef. The Dutchman expects to put down the gloves on Friday after one last fight against Yoel Romero at Bellator 285.

Manhoef, 46, left the door ajar that another opportunity might arise in his interview with CBS Sports, but he expects this to be one of his last walks to the cage.

“Yes, it is the last fight of the contract with Bellator and I think it will also be one of the last fights. I think it is enough,” said Manhoef. “It’s great and I’ve had a beautiful journey. I’ve done so many things and I have a beautiful life. I’ve been appreciated by people all over the world. Now it’s time to let the young boys do their thing and step aside .

“Part of me won’t stop, but the other part of me is like, ‘Yo, your health and your age and everything.’ In this training camp I really knocked people out. I still do. It’s still there… that’s what makes it so difficult.”

Over 25 years, more than half of Manhoef’s life, the Surinamese-born Dutchman pulverized enemies and shocked fans. MMA’s most prolific knockout performer has a whopping 91% knockout percentage – 29 KOs in 32 wins. Only five of Manhoef’s 50 professional fights have made it to the judges’ scorecards.

Watch the full interview with Melvin Manhoef below.

Success can only be measured by the individual. Manhoef has never brought his unique kind of violence to UFC, but Manhoef has traveled the world producing moments that will stand the test of time. From the comfort of his Mercedes Benz, the same vehicle in which he once ran into three burglars, Manhoef detailed the gifts bestowed upon him by the fighting game.

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“I could find myself in fighting and in the gym. I always tried to get better in the fights, but after that I also tried to get better at everything I did,” said Manhoef. “This is real fighting. If something is impossible, you can’t do it. I fight for it until I get what I want. This is normal life. Nothing in life is allowed. You get your ups and downs. helped me to gain life, to be on the right track and to do good things. Fighting is very important to me. It is a way of life and it has made me who I am today. It is also for my children. It is an example… Fighting gave me that.”

Manhoef’s career achievements read like fiction: He broke heavyweight Mark Hunt’s titanium chin in 18 seconds after a middleweight run in 2008, handed “The Gracie Hunter” Kazushi Sakuraba the fastest loss of his storied career of 46 fights in 2008, won in three separate decades (four if he beats Romero) and competed in whirlwind classics against Evangelista Santos in 2006 and Robbie Lawler in 2010.

“For my size and what I could deliver, I got the most out of the fighting game,” said Manhoef. “I’d say people should remember me like that. A man who knocked everyone out, wasn’t afraid of anyone and gave everything. That’s how I think you describe me and I think that’s very special.”

The possible final stop on a dangerous and painful journey is through Romero, a juggernaut in his own right. It caters to professional fighters who take its title more seriously than anyone in the history of the sport.

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“This is also an appreciation for myself for doing this in the last fight. It’s the icing on the cake, fighting against a real warrior like Romero,” said Manhoef. “Every fighter wants to test himself. He came from UFC to Bellator. He’s done crazy things in his career. It’s nice to measure myself against him.”