“It’s hard when you have your first fight. And that first fight is on TV. You have a lot of publicity around you. It’s kind of hard. Other guys, they get a handful of fights before they ever see any competition or are even on TV or anything like that. My first fight was on a major card and I’ve been on TV my whole career. Everybody was like ‘Who are you going to fight next? Are you going to fight Fedor?’ And man, I’ve only got one fight under my belt!… I’m not giving up. I know what I’m capable of…There’s going to be a lot less pressure. Because I’m not undefeated anymore. That’s going to alleviate a lot of pressure for me. I don’t have to worry about keeping this undefeated streak or anything like that. I can just go out there and be more comfortable. I think you’re going to see a much better fighter, because I think they’re going to let me fight every couple of months. I’m just going to get better and better and better.”

—Bobby Lashley talking to Bloody Elbow about the pressure he faced early in his MMA career

In an interview with Pro MMA Now, Bobby Lashley confirmed that he has left Strikeforce and it doesn’t sound like he’ll ever fight for the promotion again. Instead, he’s heading back to the regional MMA scene where he’ll have the opportunity to develop his skills without all the media attention and immense pressure from fans to perform at a level he’s not at yet. His first fight will come on March 25 when he takes on James Jack at Titan Fighting Championships 17. The event airs live on HDNet.

Image via Esther Lin for Strikeforce/Showtime