5 UFC fighters who might retire in 2018
Some huge names could bid goodbye to the octagon this year
The shelf-life of an athlete or sportsperson competing at the highest level is pretty short. Assuming they start in their late teens or early twenties, most of them perform to the best of their abilities for about 12-15 years. And only IF they don't suffer any critical injuries along the way. That is a very small window in which they must make enough money to sustain them for life and of course, leave their mark on the sport.
In this light, it is obvious that MMA fighters are an aberration. Not only have we seen fighters compete at a high level well into their forties, but it's in a sport where the training and the end game entail the breaking of the mind and the body. If that's not a testament to their toughness, what is?
But no matter how skilled they are, how intelligently they preserve themselves or how long they've stayed unbeaten, fighters are after all human. There is one unvanquishable challenger against whom the harder you struggle, the harder you fall and that is time. So here are 5 UFC fighters who might hang up their gloves in 2018:
#5 Diego Sanchez
The Ultimate Fighter 1 is historic because of its finale, where Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar put on a barnburner that basically brought the UFC back from the dead. Griffin won the fight and earned a 6-figure contract with the UFC, but Dana White and the Fertitta brothers were so impressed with Bonnar's heart that he was awarded a contract as well.
What a lot of people don't remember is that Diego Sanchez was the winner of the Middleweights who competed on the show. In fact, he's the only contestant from the show who's still active in the UFC, thirteen years later. Wondering what keeps Sanchez going? Probably the same red-hot passion that carried him to a rear naked choke win in his MMA debut (for which he earned $600) despite a broken heel.
Throughout his career, Diego Sanchez has fought in four weight classes and has won an astonishing seven Fight of the Night bonuses, the most in UFC history. Three of those fights, against Karo Parisyan, Clay Guida and Gilbert Melendez, went on to win Fight of the year and will find their place among the greatest battles of all time.
Now 36, Sanchez has lost 3 of his last 4 fights with two of them ending with him being brutally knocked out. The amount of damage he's absorbed because of his take-two-to-give-one style of fighting would've definitely taken a heavy toll. Despite this, he certainly won't be cut from the UFC but could consider calling it a day soon to save himself unnecessary harm.
A title has eluded him, but he's spent 13 of his 15 years as a professional fighter in the UFC, a boast not many others can make.