Ilir Latifi teases retirement after UFC Fight Night 211 win over Aleksei Oleinik

“It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.”

That classic movie quote is from Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” It might apply to someone like longtime UFC light heavyweight Ilir Latifi.

Latifi turned 40 earlier this year, and with 24 career fights, he’s a long aways away from his Saturday opponent, Aleksei Oleinik, who has nearly 80 in MMA. But the kind of fights Latifi has been in certainly add up to mileage, and it’s got him wondering if he’s come to the end of the line.

Latifi (16-8 MMA, 9-6 UFC) took a unanimous decision from Oleinik (60-17-1 MMA, 9-8 UFC) on the preliminary card at UFC Fight Night 211 on Saturday in Las Vegas. Latifi said after the fight he got a staph infection in his leg and was running a fever on fight day, but fought anyway and got the win.

But it was the last bout on his deal with the UFC, and retirement is an option, he said.

“This was my last fight on my (UFC) contract,” Latifi said in his post-fight interview with Paul Felder at the UFC Apex. “I’ve turned 40 now, and I don’t know what (will) happen after this. I want to say a special thanks to the UFC. It’s been an amazing run. It’s been some glorious fights, and some ups and downs. But there’s an end to every story. We’ll see what happens after this. … It’s an amazing sport, but the margins are so small.”

Latifi was able to stay out of Oleinik’s danger zone, which is on the canvas. Of his 60 career MMA wins, 47 have been by submission.

But Latifi said stressing out about Oleinik beating him on the canvas in the grappling game would’ve been a mistake, too.

“Everybody’s so obsessed with his ground work, but they forget all the standup fights that he did against Alistair (Overeem), Mark Hunt – some of the best,” Latifi said. “We’ve got to give this guy an amazing applause, because he’s a legend in this sport. … When they gave me this fight, they said, ‘He’s old. He’s old.’ Old or not old, he can be 70 – he’s coming to fight and to finish. I got him with some good shots today, and he continued to go forward. It says a lot about him. I knew it was a hard challenge, fighting-wise – he’s very dangerous.”

If Latifi does decide to call it quits, he’ll go out with a two-fight winning streak. Before the victory against Oleinik, a split call against Tanner Boser in June 2021 snapped a three-fight skid.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 211.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie