5 UFC fighters who retired in 2018
Retirement in MMA is always a bit of a touchy subject. Some fighters retire but simply can’t stay away from the game – like BJ Penn, who’s returned from the shelf on 3 occasions now. Others appear to hang up their gloves too soon and under surprising circumstances – Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson comes to mind – while others hang on for way too long.
As the UFC’s history gets deeper, more notable fighters seem to retire every year, and 2018 has been no different. We’ve seen more than one big-name star hang up their gloves this year – including a handful of former UFC champions – and given most of them are pretty old in MMA terms and look past their best, hopefully these retirements stick.
Here are 5 notable UFC fighters who retired in 2018.
#1 Michael Bisping
The first – and to date only – UFC champion from the UK, Michael Bisping actually fought his final UFC match in November 2017, but didn’t actually confirm an official retirement until late May 2018. The announcement hardly came as a surprise given Bisping – 39 years old - had been competing in the UFC for 12 years, debuting back in June 2006, and had a total of 29 UFC bouts under his belt.
The reasons for hanging it up that Bisping gave made total sense, too. Firstly, he’d reached his career goal by winning the UFC Middleweight title in 2016 by knocking out Luke Rockhold, a victory that was hugely unexpected given many fans had written him off as being past his best at that point. Essentially, ‘The Count’ had nothing more to prove.
And secondly, he’d suffered some serious injuries during his UFC tenure, but none more worrying than a torn retina in 2013. That injury kept him out for a solid year, and he continued to suffer from eye problems for the remainder of his career. Bisping even revealed that after his final loss to Kelvin Gastelum, he’d begun to have problems with his “good” eye, too.
A true legend of the Octagon, Bisping remains the biggest MMA star ever produced by the UK – sorry Dan Hardy – and will probably be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame sooner rather than later. With the UFC’s big move to ESPN on the horizon, Bisping will likely remain with the promotion as an analyst for the foreseeable future.