Krzysztof Soszynski awoke to a strange surprise on Monday morning.
Caught in the lazy afterglow of the post-Christmas feast hangover, the 34-year-old perused the internet until finding Dana White's UFC 141 video blog. Soszynski self-admittedly loves these clips because it shows fans a behind-the-scenes look at the nuances of the sport, so he popped it on. Five minutes later the fighter witnessed a scene that shouldn't have seemed foreign, but did -- his own retirement.
"I will be 100-percent honest with you: I don't remember," Soszynski said to The Province. "The last thing I remember before the knockout was walking way to the Octagon, and the next thing I remember, I'm in the back, fully dressed. I believe -- from what I've been told -- that Joe Silva just finished talking to me; he was walking away, and I was just coming to. So whatever happened from the time the fight started all the way to going to the back, whatever you see, and probably a good 20 minutes, I do not remember. That's the honest truth."
After what happened that night, Soszynski's story seems brutally plausible. "The Polish Experiment" lasted just 35 seconds at UFC 140 before being separated from consciousness with a thunderous left hook-straight right combination from Igor Pokrajac. Soszynski was out cold for the first time in his career and appeared unresponsive for several minutes after the fight.
Following such a violent end, Soszynski's son -- who along with the fighter's wife had a cageside view of the action -- asked his father to never fight again, perhaps prompting the retirement talk in White's video blog.
While that sentiment alone would be enough for most men to consider hanging up the gloves, for Soszynski there are additional outside forces that could impact his ultimate decision.
"The truth of the matter is that everybody knows I've been having some knee problems," he explained. "I've been having knee problems since UFC 110 - the first fight with Stephan Bonnar. Ever since then, my knees just haven't been the same. We basically beat the crap out of each other, and ever since then I haven't been the same. I've basically been fighting maybe 50-60-percent capacity."
Soszynski maintains that his retirement talk was premature, but acknowledges that his sun is quickly setting over the horizon. With health, time and age -- the classic rivals to any athlete -- no longer at his side, the fighter would like to have one more battle to go gently into the night, but understands the decision may be out of his hands.
"I've been fighting with these obstacles now for close to two years. I've had five knee surgeries in that time - three in the last seven months or so. I possibly have to go under the knife again -- I'll go see my doctor next week -- so we'll see; depends on what the doctor says," Soszynski concluded. "If the doctor says I can get back to fighting, I would love to have at least one more fight, and go out the proper way, not the way I did against Igor. But if the doctor says that's about it, I'm going to respect that."