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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020

McGregor leads tributes to 'one of the best fighters to ever come out of Ireland'

Neil Seery bows out after last night’s clash with Alexandre Pantoja at UFC Fight Night 113 in Glasgow.

UFC Fight Night - Gunnar Nelson v Santiago Ponzinibbio - SSE Hydro Neil Seery (right) en route to a defeat to Alexandre Pantoja in Scotland last night.

HE SIGNED OFF with a defeat but Neil Seery walks away from his career as a professional MMA fighter having won no shortage of admirers.

The veteran Dubliner, who turns 38 next month, was bidding for a fairytale ending last night at UFC Fight Night 113 in Glasgow when he took on Alexandre Pantoja.

However, in spite of a typically gritty performance from Seery, the promising Brazilian had too much on the night and emerged victorious via submission midway through the third round.

The result left Seery with a 16-13 professional record, which included a 3-4 run with the UFC. The Team Ryano fighter retires having spent more time in the UFC’s octagon than any other Irish fighter.

Seery, who made his mixed martial arts debut in 2005, was signed by the UFC in 2014 after being a pioneer for the sport of MMA in Ireland. Many of his peers took to social media last night to pay tribute to the former Cage Warriors champion.

Among them was UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who wrote on Instagram: “Congratulations on a great career Neil! You are one of the best fighters to ever come out of Ireland! Much love and respect always! Enjoy retirement brother.”

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After the fight, Seery gave a refreshingly honest interview to BT Sport, in which he admitted that he’s uncertain about what the future holds as he comes to terms with the prospect of being a former fighter.

The father-of-four, who works full-time as a warehouse operative, said: “I strongly believe that fighters have the biggest fight of their career after they finish. It’s filling in that void — the buzz around getting up every morning, going for that run, turning up at the gym and having that energy to keep going.

“We all have a void. We all have the biggest fight of our career coming up. That’s what I believe I have. I have to find something that interests me. I don’t know if it’s coaching, I don’t know what it is at the moment. But I believe I’m going to have to find something.”

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Paul Dollery

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