When Ivan Salaverry retired from fighting in 2008, he was content with his decision to walk away from combat sports. As he trained and coached others to achieve their fighting aspirations, the desire to get back in there at least one more time grew until he could no longer ignore it.
“You get the itch, and you’ve just got to scratch it sometimes,” he said. “I just missed it. I missed the cage, the crowd. I missed the practices.
“I think that all fighters have that,” he added. “You still have that fire, that yearning, that want to fight in front of the crowd, have those epic moments.”
The stars aligned for the 40-year-old former UFC middleweight to come out of retirement when the BAMMA organization came calling seeking a replacement for the injured Phil Baroni. Salaverry jumped on the opportunity to put retirement on the shelf and compete in Europe for the first time in his career.
“It was very alluring to fight in front of the European crowd. I’ve fought in the U.S., I’ve fought in Japan, and I think Europe would be fascinating to go there and fight and fight in front of the English crowd. I thought about that and was like, wow, that’s kind of cool, “ he said. “It felt right. It felt good. Let’s do it.
“I’ve just been rolling around with the guys and boxing and kickboxing and I just missed it, you know. I enjoyed fighting and I had the opportunity. The BAMMA organization offered it to me and I took it.”
It will be almost three years to the day since Salaverry last competed when he steps in to the cage to face Matt Ewin at BAMMA 6 in London on May 21.
Salaverry accepted the fight on short notice, just over three weeks out, but was in training and felt that the timing was right.
“I was training beforehand. They were tossing it around to me a little bit earlier than three weeks, so I was already in that mindset. I was already training and there was a training camp for other fighters of mine in my gym. So I was already in that mode. It was good timing,” Salaverry told MMAWeekly Radio. “I think it was good timing on BAMMA and on my part and luckily I have good guys that are around me training. All paths crossed to this, so it was good.”
Whether or not Salaverry will continue to fight after his May 21 match-up with Ewin remains up in the air.
“One fight at a time. Let me feel this out. Let me put my toes in the water and feel it out, enjoy it… and go from there,” he said. “If the water is warm, and I like it, and it’s sunny out, I may stay in there.”