UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin was forced to walk away from Mixed Martial Arts before he was ready to call it quits thanks to a number of nagging health issues. Though it would be understandable if Carwin to felt a bit of resentment about the situation, it turns out the 38-year old is completely content with having hung his gloves up for good.

Carwin spoke about his decision in a recent interview with CNNSI where, surprisingly, he admitted he was actually relieved to finally be focusing on life outside of the Octagon.

“What was tough for me was sports are what I’ve done since age six, so I struggled with that for a little bit. (At the same time), I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders because it has been a struggle these last two, three, four years being in pain all of the time,” said Carwin after explaining a doctor’s recommendation regarding neck/back injuries had forced his hand.

Though Carwin may be in a good place personally, it’s evident he will still miss the sport based on how it affected his life.

“MMA taught me a lot about myself. I was definitely meant to be a fighter in the cage. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the game of football. I still drive by the grass fields in the fall and smell that smell and it brings back memories, but being able to go one-on-one? That’s you. That’s 100 percent you,” explained Carwin. “Anything you do in there is from your heart and mind. I think it’s the truest sport in the world today, as true as a competition can be in finding out who the best man is.”

The 12-2 Carwin exited MMA on a two-fight losing streak but had won all twelve of his previous tilts by way of a first-frame finish. Among his career highlights were victories over Gabriel Gonzaga and Frank Mir.