Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Rafael Natal – the Brazilian with the jiu-jitsu black belt who always ended up slugging it out despite his grappling pedigree – has announced his retirement.

Natal has had a hard time getting wins lately, but in a UFC career that goes all the way back to 2010, he was once one of the tougher, more skilled men in the middleweight division. Never quite elite, but he was up there.

As per MMAFighting:

“I came here today to announce my retirement from MMA,” Natal said. “It was the toughest walk in today to your studio because it is hard to make this announcement, but I talked to my family, my friend, my coaches. That is the time. I have new focus in my career as a coach, so that’s the (right) thing to do in the moment.

“It’s very hard, you know? It was a long journey. I love MMA, I love training, cutting weight, but I had some surgeries before. I’m focused on that 100% in my life, doing this 15 years, so it’s time to step back. My mom asked me this a long time ago, and that was a hard decision, but that’’s what we have.”