This Saturday, May 18 at AFL 20: Resurrection a Spanish MMA legend will make his final walk to the cage. Mikel Cortes (10-5) will say goodbye to competitive MMA fighting and compete in his retirement match against fellow martial arts veteran Alex Sabia (3-0) in the main event, a fitting way to end a fantastic career.
We spoke with Cortes about his career, Alex Sabia, life after fighting, and how important it is for Spanish fans to support local fighters and events.
AFL: How do you feel preparing for this fight?
Mikel Cortes: I’ve prepared for this fight the best I can, I have the help of my colleagues and training partners and with help of my experience. I’m old, I know, but I prepare it with humility and courage.
AFL: Are there any emotions about this fight and moving away after many years of fighting?
MC: It is very pleasant to remember moments that I lived in the cage, there are many moments that are poetry in my head. I remember my first fight, a fight in a very dark place that was illuminated by a light bulb (practically). There were a lot of people there and they had sold out and had more people outside, a lot of expectation, and I could not differentiate the referee and my opponent rival… the fight was very fast. I decided to attack one of the two lumps that I saw and hit one. Thankfully, he was my opponent. I remember things like that, and I’m left with moments of all kinds, not just those of inside the cage.
AFL: Can you think of a more perfect way to call it a day? You are fighting in the main event and against another veteran.
MC: I think this fight will be very beautiful, my rival is perfect. I would call it another “bello día mas”.
AFL: What do you think of Alex Sabia as a fighter?
MC: Alex I think is a very good fighter, a veteran, and like me – an old tiger that just wants another fight…
AFL: Where do you feel best in this fight?
MC: Where I feel best is lying on the beach with a cool drink. I do not care inside the cage, I’m good everywhere except receiving.
AFL: Do you have any predictions for this fight?
MC: I hope it is a beautiful fight for others to watch and enjoy, I will try my best to win.
AFL: Looking back on your career, what are some of the best moments for you?
MC: The best moments are mixed with the worst, and in that hodgepodge I always remember «the Russian». I think it was my first defeat, but so intensely beautiful that in my memories seems like a victory.
AFL: What are your plans after retirement?
MC: I do not rejoice, I stop fighting in the cage, but that is different. My plans are to stay the same, close to this sport and fighting for everything.
AFL: A final message for Alex Sabia and also for the fans of AFL?
MC: To Alex I should not say anything, just thanks for coming. For a fight you need a rival and the better the rival, the better for everyone. To the fans tell them that you have to come to this event to support the fighters!
We see it on TV and we talk about McGregor and others that they are far away; you have us here on Saturday for a small price, do the act of coming and look us in the eye while we fight giving everything. At the end of the fight we will applaud you and you, you will applaud us. Believe me it’s important to pay that entrance, the fighters that are here are the same as those on TV, if you support them one will end on TV…. A big hug for everyone and … !!!!!! WE SEE SATURDAY IN AFL 20 DONOSTI !!!!!!
AFL 20: Resurrection will take place on May 18th at the Jose Antonio Gasca Municipal Sports Center with a card filled with some of Spain & Europe’s top MMA fighters.