Former UFC star Roxanne Modafferi has had a drastic career change since hanging up her gloves in 2022.
The 41-year-old veteran from Delaware started out long before MMA’s emergence as a mainstream sport, mainly achieved thanks to the spotlight on Conor McGregor. Modafferi’s first MMA fight came way back in Japan in 2003.
She fought all the way up to UFC 271 in February 2022, where she suffered a split decision defeat to Casey O’Neill. The 25-20 fighter decided her time in the octagon was over after the loss, and she spent almost a year in pursuit of her “perfect job” before choosing to teach 18-60-year-olds English in Japan back in January.
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Modafferi said: "I finally got a job after over a year of trying to find the perfect job, and holding out for something that wasn’t happening. I finally got a good job.
“I’m teaching English now as a second language and I’m good at that. My students like me, my boss likes me, I feel like I’m making a difference in people’s lives still, which is still important.
"I’m doing that part-time in the morning. I am teaching kids Jiu Jitsu in the evening at Tribe Martial Arts and Fitness. I get to come home when my husband comes home."
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"My English students do not [know who I am]," she told Zenger. "I don’t think they are really MMA fans. One guy recognized me. I said I did Jiu-Jitsu, and he said, 'Oh, I’m a Blue Belt.' But nobody really knows who I am at my English school."
Modafferi suffered brutal punishment in the octagon at times, notably against Maycee Barber at UFC 246 in January 2020 despite winning the contest as an underdog. She suffered a gruesome cut on her skull and tore her left ACL, and fears over the lasting effects of her long fight career eventually pushed her to say goodbye to the sport.
She revealed: "A few years ago, I started getting headaches after hard sparring. I thought that was very bad. I didn’t want to get brain damage more than I possibly already have.
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"I’m not noticing any poor speech patterns or memory loss or anything but I know it’s a bad sign to get headaches after training. So, I thought, I think I’m reaching the end of the line here.
"Also, I see everyone becoming a super athlete, I’m no super athlete, so my guess is that in a few years, I wouldn’t be able to hold my own physically with all these young pups coming up. So, I reached 50 fights and that seemed like a good number to call it a career."
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