James Krause already had a Plan B after fighting, which made walking away that much easier.
That’s because Krause’s backup plan of coaching has long been his priority as he occasionally jumped into the cage to compete himself. Having won seven of his past eight fights, the Glory MMA and Fitness owner and head coach was able to balance both effectively, but his passion for guiding talent was starting to overtake that of competing himself.
Krause (28-8 MMA, 9-4 UFC) pondered retirement for a while, but after helping coach Brandon Moreno to an interim flyweight title this past Saturday at UFC 277, Krause decided to officially hang up his gloves and even withdrew from the US Anti-Doping Agency testing pool.
“I’m happy with the decision,” Krause told MMA Junkie. “I’m happy with what I’ve done. Obviously, it’s a clear-cut transition for me to coaching full-time now, which I’ve been doing for a long time, anyway.
“One thousand percent (coaching helped make up my mind). I still get all the things I did as a fighter. I get to make the walk, I get to be around the industry. I’m in the industry every week. I’m in Vegas right now. On Saturday night, I’m going to make the walk. Next Saturday, I’m going to make the walk. I’m still a part of these big fights. I still get the jitters. I’m still deeply entrenched in the sport that I love, that I fell in love with 15, 16 years ago. So it’s been a smooth transition for me. It’s been no problem at all for me, and I think that’s why.”
Krause gets to walk away from MMA on a win. He stepped in on two weeks’ notice to beat Claudio Silva in October 2020. But it was his previous fight against Trevin Giles at UFC 247 that may have been the defining moment of his career. Krause lost the fight by split decision, but won the respect of everyone when he stepped in on just one day’s notice in a weight class above to lose a controversial decision.
While that last-minute Fight of the Night effort against Giles definitely ranks as a top memorable moment for Krause, he points to a couple more fights that helped shape his career.
“As far as fight selection goes, my proudest moment would just be my fight with Sam Stout, and that’s just because it was my entry into the UFC and the double bonus that night changed my life forever,” Krause said. “So that was a really important night for me. The Warlley Alves fight was really important for me because it was my first real fight at 170 in the UFC and I was a 4-to-1 underdog – so just proving a lot of people, proving a lot of things to myself.
“But if you ask me what do I want to be most known for or what am I most proud of being known for, I think it goes along with the Giles fight. I wasn’t afraid to put myself out there. I wasn’t afraid to try new things and take risks and use the sport to grow as a person and as a fighter. I always want to put myself out there and challenge myself. It was more than a sport to me – it was my life.”