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Punahele Soriano Reveals That He Thought of Retiring Prior to UFC on ESPN 57 win: ‘I felt so much pressure’

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In a remarkable turn of events, Punahele Soriano contemplated retirement before his UFC on ESPN 57 victory. Despite making it look easy in the octagon, Soriano’s journey leading up to the fight was anything but smooth.

The welterweight fighter (10-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) faced immense pressure during his camp, questioning whether he could continue in the sport. Every day, doubts crept in, and he wondered if this was truly for him. However, fight week brought a surge of confidence, and Soriano believed in himself.

“The whole camp, I felt so much pressure,” Punahele Soriano told the UFC after the fight. “Every day, I was contemplating whether I could still do this, whether if this is for me and if I could deal with this. Fight week, for whatever reason, I had the ultimate confidence. I was supremely confident, no added pressure and I believed in myself.”

“I love this sport and love what I do.”- Punahele Soriano

“I said this a few times, but I was contemplating retirement backstage and thanks to my man Mike at the (UFC Performance Institute), I just let go of that balloon and started thinking about something I cared about – like my wife and my dogs, anything that I loved,” Soriano said. “(I was) ultimately reminding myself that I love this sport and love what I do.”

Backstage, just before his bout, he battled those same demons, contemplating retirement. Thanks to his support system, including UFC Performance Institute’s Mike, Punahele Soriano let go of those doubts and focused on what he loved: the sport. His dominant win over Miguel Baeza marked a turning point, and Soriano now feels like he has a new life in the welterweight division.

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