Two-time Olympic medalist Lutalo Muhammad is preparing to turn his attention to mixed martial arts after retiring from international taekwondo at the age of 31.
Muhammad won a bronze medal in London in 2012 and was agonizingly short of a gold medal in Rio four years later when his opponent Cheick Sallah Cisse landed a headbutt in the final second of the men’s 80kg bout.
Muhammad, a lifelong martial arts fan, revealed he has already received a few tentative offers and is considering moving his career into the MMA octagon.
“I feel like my Olympic journey is over, but I don’t feel like I’m done as an athlete,” Muhammad told the PA news agency.
“I don’t even feel like I’ve reached my physical prime yet. I’ve fought all my life and I’ve developed such a fondness for martial arts and MMA in particular.
“I will take my time before making a final decision because MMA can be brutal and you have to give it time and respect. But I dream of becoming a more complete martial artist.”
Muhammad made headlines ahead of London 2012 when he was selected in the men’s under 80kg category against his British team-mate Aaron Cook, who was world number one at the time.
Defying the pressure to win a bronze medal, he triumphed at two World Grands Prix before going to Rio four years later as one of the favorites for the gold medal.
Muhammad led his Ivorian opponent by two points as the seconds ticked down, but suffered one of the most dramatic defeats in the sport’s history when Cisse executed a three-point leg kick with one second remaining.
Undaunted, Muhammad moved up a weight class but found himself on a collision course with another teammate and good friend Mahama Cho, who was preferred for Tokyo on the British team, effectively ending Muhammad’s career at the highest level.
“It was a really good run and I look back on it very positively,” added Muhammad. “I am satisfied with my silver medal. I’ll never know what would have happened if I had won gold, but silver gave me a platform and helped me make a name for myself.
“After missing Tokyo, I realized I didn’t want to stay for another cycle and be a taekwondo athlete forever. I knew it was time to move on and dedicate my prime to something else.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/lutalo-muhammad-rio-mma-great-britain-london-b2178462.html Lutalo Muhammad hints at the future of MMA after retiring from taekwondo