Many were surprised when after just one loss, Elias Theodorou was released by the UFC. The man himself was no different but is now looking ahead to new opportunities as a result.
Theodorou fought Derek Brunson in a co-main event last month, losing the fight via Unanimous Decision. The Ultimate Fighter: Nations winner entered the bout riding a three fight win streak but just fifteen minutes later, had reached the final chapter of his UFC career. Weeks later, Theodorou's release was reported, with Dana White commenting on the decision earlier this month.
Appearing on this week's Ariel Helwani's MMA Show, Theodorou detailed his own reaction to the news. “Definitely surprised considering I came off of a three fight win streak before that. Obviously there’s the old adage: you’re as good as you’re last performance and I lost my last one. But being with a company for five-plus years, you would expect maybe another opportunity, especially considering the fact that I’d recently gone through the process of renegotiating my contract leading up to it. But obviously UFC has the right it seems to fast-track a promotional agreement and that’s where I find myself.”
Nonetheless, Theodorou exits the octagon with an impressive record and enters free agency just months after being ranked in the UFC's Middleweight division. As a result, Theodorou is approaching the next chapter of his career with optimism. "I’m really excited for the future. I was 8-3 in the UFC and I’m also 17-3 moving forward as a professional athlete. Just excited for the landscape. I’ve been in a committed relationship for five years in regards to MMA and I’m now single and ready to mingle," he said.
"I’m happy and healthy. I have different avenues that I can explore as an athlete and as a individual, as a mixed martial artist," Theodorou explained. "I have my banner and my shorts back as an avenue to partner with sponsorships. I have partnerships that are global so whether it’s North America or even potentially Asia, they will see value in regards to creating those same partnerships and same campaigns throughout my UFC career and now potentially in other organizations.
"Just really excited for something different. I was motivated as an athlete and motivated as a UFC fighter after my last fight but now I’m even more motivated in regards to moving forward."
Theodorou said that process is already underway too, telling Helwani that he has multiple options already on the table. "People have already reached out through different channels and there’s opportunity to start those conversations and see where the next potential five-plus years of my career could go. There’s many different directions."
Regardless of which promotion Theodorou eventually signs with, he confirmed that he'll continue in his role as "ring boy" for Invicta FC. It remains unclear which cage he'll next be fighting in though.