Diego Armando Maradona will forever be remembered as the complete package: the good, bad, all of the above.

Maradona, who became arguably the best player in football history in his time, died Wednesday in Buenos Aires due to a heart attack. He was 60. The Argentine government declared three days of national mourning following the passing of the national hero.

“El Pibe de Oro” (“The Golden Kid”) captained Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup and brought pride to southern Italy by turning Napoli into a club football giant – winning multiple national and international titles with “Gli Azzurri.” Maradona also became one of two joint winners of the “FIFA Player of the 20th Century” award along side with Brazilian legend Pele.

But with all the heights and greatness, Maradona was also a troubled and controversial figure. The global phenomenon, who came from a shantytown on the southern outskirts of the Argentinian capital, struggled with cocaine and alcohol abuse and had links to the Italian mafia, among many shortcomings.

Whether he was loved or hated, there’s no denying his accomplishments, and above all, the pride he took in representing Argentina and the hope he brought to an entire nation.

MMA Junkie spoke with all three Argentine fighters on the UFC roster about Maradona’s passing and the influence he had on their athletic careers: Guido Cannetti, Laureano Starapoli, and Santiago Ponzinibbio.

People walk past of the face of Diego Maradona painted on the Plaza de Mayo in front of the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. The Argentine soccer great who led his country to the 1986 World Cup died Wednesday at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) ORG XMIT: XRM188

Guido Cannetti, bantamweight

Mar 7, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Danaa Batgerel (red gloves) fights Guido Cannetti (blue gloves) during UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

For me, it’s a day of mourning. It’s very sad, I already cried earlier when I found out. Beyond representing Argentina in football, he represented the Argentine spirit. That spirit of not being afraid, of not having a mask on and being fake in front of a camera, of always staying consistent with what you say.

He is the best football player of all-time and that makes us proud, all of us who are athletes and love Argentina. A lot of people judge him for what he ended up being and what he did after, but as an athlete he was incredible. He did have his issues with drugs later on, but to me that doesn’t take away from what he did because we all have flaws and you’re judged depending on who you are. Many people have other issues or similar issues, but if they’re your friend or someone else, you might not see it as a big deal because that person is nobody and Maradona was somebody.

I feel like the people who criticize him need to live his life, so they truly know what it’s like to be that famous, to be Maradona and be the best player in the world and of all-time. He was always in favor of people who were in need and that makes him even bigger and that’s why people love him.

He influenced me a lot. When I was little, Maradona was a word that meant overcoming. Whether it’s our sport, football, or any other sport, it’s always a reference of defending the country, moving forward no matter if you’re losing and that’s something very few athletes have. To put the team on your back, put the shirt on, and carry the flag and represent the country – it’s not about doing it for yourself, but about showing and proving the country that it can be done, that you can get anywhere and achieve anything no matter what villa you come from. Maradona showed lower social-economic people that you can dream and get to the highest of heights with hard work, sacrifice and continuity.

Laureano Staropoli, welterweight

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 08: (L-R) Laureano Staropoli of Argentina punches Tim Means in their welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 08, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

It was a big feeling of sorrow, to be honest. Being an Argentinian athlete, he’s your idol. It’s something that’s very strong what he represents and what he transmitted to people.

Argentina has always gone through tough moments and more in the time where he became world champion. He were coming off a dictatorship, we had the we had the Guerra de las Malvinas (Falklands War with England), and many other hits that affected the Argentinian society. All that poverty, sadness and loss — because many had lost family members during the dictatorship and the war — he gave happiness to many. He brought happiness to the everyone. It didn’t matter if you were poor or rich. Everyone would gather together to watch him and everyone was happy. He gave happiness to the people, that’s why the Argentine loves him. That’s why he’s idolized so much.

What moves me and what identifies me with him, it’s his spirit. That spirit to be fighting til the very last minute, to try to turn the game around, to go and keep playing with your legs (expletive) up and your toes swollen. To tell your teammates when we played against England after the war, ‘Hey, these guys killed our boys,’ and that same game score a goal with his hand. That’s inexplainable, that’s something us Argentines feel very strong inside. He can excite you if you’re a football fan from another country and you can marvel at his game. But another thing is that belonging that you have as an Argentine that he gave us. I feel that spirit. I’m the same. I go out there to try to get the result until the last second. I always move forward and Maradona represents that. That warrior spirit. If he had to trade punches in the middle of a game, he would do it. He wasn’t scared of anyone.”

Santiago Ponzinibbio, welterweight

Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC Fight Night 140. (USA TODAY Sports)

It took me a bit to process it. I was training at the gym (American Top Team) and a Russian fighter saw it on social media and he told me. It took me a while to process it. The truth is that it’s a big pain because he’s a legend, a legend of the sport.

A very human person with all of his achievements and his mistakes. He brought a lot of happiness to Argentina, people who love football, and it goes beyond that. It’s not just football. He’s a person who came out of a villa in Argentina where he didn’t even have money to eat and yet he went on to conquer the world. People paid homage all around the world in all continents because he’s a figure that moved forward in life coming out of a place where many people end up in jail, dead or without any future. You have to give him credit, he did what he loved and what he liked and he did it the best he could and with the tools that he had. The truth is that I admire him a lot and it’s very painful to know that he’s gone.

He influences you a lot because he literally came from nothing and got to the highest level. He did what he did with dedication and hard work and dreaming big. He’s an example of fighting, of dreaming, and it’s incredible everything that he achieved keeping in mind where he came from. It’s very inspiring. He also had balls, he fought tooth and nail, he would give it his all, and would give himself entirely to the game, and thats an example to follow – that love and that commitment to what he decided to dedicate his life to. He proves that anything is possible. A true legend.