Ilia Topuria vs. Bryce Mitchell opened up the UFC 282 pay-per-view, and their fight was a largely one sided affair with Topuria cutting through Mitchell’s submission offense and beating him up pretty bad en route to a second round arm-triangle choke win (watch the highlights here).
The loss was a bitter pill for Bryce Mitchell, who was undefeated at 15-0 in MMA before running into Topuria. In new backstage footage released by the UFC for their ‘The Thrill and the Agony’ series on ESPN+, you get to see “Thug Nasty” following the loss as he questions whether or not he wants to even continue competing in combat sports.
“I’m just feeling ... I guess regret, you know?” an emotional Mitchell said. “I just know I could have done better. I’m just in so much pain that I don’t think it’s worth it to keep going. I want to stop with MMA and I want to take every little bit of focus that I spent every day on MMA, I want to put it into something else.”
“Everything is meant to be and I’m just going to move on with my life and take all the energy I spent doing MMA, and I’m going to put it into something else,” he repeated. “I think I’m going to be extremely successful.”
“That’s why I’m just saying I should f—ing retire after that dude before I go any further, and move on with my life. I just don’t ever want to feel this much pain.”
As his team carries him from backstage, the video cuts to one of his coaches.
“His trick is how he kicks back from the loss,” he said. “Take him a little time off, get some things done, and I guarantee you he’ll probably regain steam and motivation.”
Whatever dark thoughts Mitchell was having at the time, he didn’t mention retirement in any of his post-fight statements.
“I just wanted to let y’all know, I’m feeling just fine,” he said in a video released on social media. “I’m home. I wanted to thank you all for the love and support, and I definitely got to let you know that that really wasn’t me out there. “I had the flu the week before, and you know, I thought I’d just tough it out. I didn’t feel good at all in there. That wasn’t myself.”
“I wish I wouldn’t even have took the fight, but I didn’t know it would mess me up that bad,” Mitchell concluded. “So I thought I would be able to hang in there for all three rounds, because that’s what I trained for. I trained for my cardio to be there the whole time, and it wasn’t even there one bit of the time. So I’ll come back stronger. I just hate going out like that. But I will be better.”
The loss to Topuria snapped a six fight UFC win streak for Mitchell, with the last three victories coming against Edson Barboza, Andre Fili, and Charles Rosa. Mitchell drops to No. 11 in the UFC featherweight rankings while Topuria moves up to No. 9.