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Coming out of retirement, Ryan LaFlare looking to write a new chapter in his career with the PFL

After two seasons, it has been proven that the format of the Professional Fighters League works. So much so that a variety of talents are starting to jump ship to the promotion. We saw this recently with Rory MacDonald leaving Bellator to try and win $1 million. Now, the PFL has signed Ryan LaFlare, who recently retired from the UFC.

MMA Fighting provided an exclusive interview with LaFlare (14-3), who gave an explanation as to why he joined the PFL.

“PFL was the only organization I would fight for,” LaFlare stated. “I probably wouldn’t go back to the UFC even they would bring it up. It really isn’t about the money. I just love the way the PFL is run.

“It’s not how much you talk or who’s the favorite with who,” LaFlare continued. “I just love it. It’s a no-nonsense business. You go and take care of your business and you get paid and you get rewarded regardless whether you’re talking. I understand there’s an entertainment thing but sometimes it gets carried away with the UFC. I haven’t talked to one person who fought for the PFL who had anything negative to say. To me, it was the only option for me.”

The Lindenhurst-born LaFlare retired from the UFC back in 2018 following a KO loss to Tony Martin at UFC 229. He was 1-2 in his last three and had an overall record of 7-3 in the UFC. LaFlare fought twice in his native New York, beating Roan Carneiro at UFC 208, the companies inaugural Brooklyn event. He also lost to Alex Oliveira in his hometown of LI via a brutal knockout.

With a lot of time missed, and an ACL surgery under his belt, what are the expectations of LaFlare heading into the PFL’s third season? After all, the idea of the league is to fight at least four-five times a year. LaFlare, however, believes he is physically and mentally ready. While with the UFC, he fought injured and felt burned out. He stated the UFC didn’t give him proper notice between fights, but he needed to make these fights happen. Now, he misses the rush of it all, and a healthy mindset has brought him back.

“I definitely miss it now. I was burned out but now I’m ready to roll,” LaFlare went on to say. “How could I not be fired up? I’ve had time to rest. I still put on my gear and spar with my guys. It’s not like I’m rolling off the couch like ‘I think I’ve still got it.’ No, I’m good.”

LaFlare is hoping to get a chance to face off agianst MacDonald, something he never got to do while with the UFC. Also in his way is the 2019 PFL Welterweight Tournament winner Ray Cooper III. He enters a field of fighters young and old, each with something to prove. LaFlare will look to make the most of his second chance, in an environment he could have only dreamed of a few years ago.

“I’m ready to go,” LaFlare stated. “It’s not even why not. It’s like this is my time. Everything I’ve done has gotten me ready for this moment.”

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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