One of the things that the UFC has done so gracefully is showcasing the character of the fighters. Ever since the sport of mixed martial arts gained mainstream popularity in the mid-2000s, viewers have been awestruck by the resilience and the "never give up" attitude that some competitors have offered throughout the years.
However, those noble traits are bound to fade away at some point. Some of the greatest fighters to ever grace the sport have gone out on their shield when pitted against a relatively young and technically gifted opponent.
Here, going out with a shield on doesn't necessarily mean that they have retired from the sport, but rather ended up losing an aura that they once possessed.
That said, let's take a look at five such former UFC champions who went out on their shield.
#1 Tyron Woodley at UFC 260
Tyron Woodley was frantically looking to get back into the win column against Vicente Luque at UFC 260. 'The Chosen One' came off three consecutive losses opposite the likes of Kamaru Usman, Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington.
Woodley had to make sure he didn't pull any of his punches while sharing the octagon with Luque - something which he moderately succeeded in doing. The 38-year-old landed some good shots early into the fight, but Luque was trading punches with the same intensity.
Woodley withstood a thunderous combination, but wobbled desperately in hopes of continuing the fight on the feet. Luque then sniped at him with another strike that sent him to the canvas.
Woodley has now lost four back-to-back fights, making it clear that he may never have a crack at UFC gold again.
#2 Stipe Miocic
Stipe Miocic has undoubtedly established himself as the GOAT of the heavyweight division. With four title defenses under his belt, the 38-year-old had nothing more to prove. Miocic's recurring title reigns lasted for nearly five years and saw him overpower the likes of Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos, Daniel Cormier and many more.
He also beat Francis Ngannou in 2018, but fell short against 'The Predator' on the second occasion at UFC 260. Miocic was coming off a huge victory over Daniel Cormier in August last year at UFC 252, but failed to survive against the much-improved Ngannou.
At the age of 38, things are not going to get any easier for Miocic, especially after the kind of beating he endured against Ngannou.
#3 Chuck Liddell
Chuck Liddell fought Rich Franklin in his last UFC fight in 2010. 'The Ice Man' did not boast great form coming into the fight, having lost four of his previous five fights.
Liddell's career took a downward arc after he secured his iconic second win over Tito Ortiz that marked his fourth title defense.
The 51-year-old then lost his light heavyweight championship to Quinton Jackson, and he was never quite the same fighter since, although he did put on an astonishing performance against Wanderlei Silva.
Franklin was five years younger than Liddell at the time, and that proved significant for the former. He knocked out The Ice Man in the first round that ended his remarkable UFC career.
#4 Robbie Lawler
Robbie Lawler's departure from the UFC in 2004 did him more good than harm. 'Ruthless' returned to the promotion once again in 2013 at the age of 31.
Surprisingly, the latter stage of Lawler's career was far more impressive than the first, as he racked up big wins over formidable opponents like Josh Koscheck and Rory MacDonald.
Lawler earned the UFC welterweight title shot against Johnny Hendricks in 2014, whom he defeated via a close split decision. He then went on to defend his championship two more times, before losing out on the title opposite Tyron Woodley.
Following his win over Donald Cerrone, Ruthless has lost four consecutive fights, with the latest being against Neil Magny in August last year.
#5 Frankie Edgar
Frankie Edgar is considered one of the best lightweights of all time, thanks to his fantastic stint in the 155-pound division. He was one of the few fighters to overpower B.J. Penn in that era when he ruled the lightweight division for nearly two years.
Edgar's decision to move a weight class down to featherweight and then to bantamweight subsequently hasn't served him well. The 39-year-old recently fought Cory Sandhagen in February, where he was brutally knocked out via flying knee in 28 seconds.
'The Answer', however, is still ranked No.7 in the divisional rankings. A slew of young contenders in a stacked bantamweight division may not prove easy for Edgar to deal with, now that he is 39 years of age.