While some MMA fighters have the good fortune to hang up their gloves with a victory, plenty more go the other way – and end up heading into retirement off the back of a bad loss. The sport is like the proverbial snake that eats its own tail, after all – with the reputations of today’s great fighters being built off the back of wins over yesterday’s greats.
Quite often we’ll see fighters hanging on for too long – looking for one last grasp at that final great victory, only to add a series of losses to their ledger instead – but usually, one really devastating defeat is enough for them to make their mind up and decide that enough is enough.
Here are 5 UFC legends who hung up their gloves after a loss.
#1 Rashad Evans
Once considered one of the best 205lbers on the planet, former UFC Light-Heavyweight champion Rashad Evans decided to hang up his gloves in 2018 after one loss too many. It’s probably arguable in fact that ‘Suga’ stuck around for too long, as his career actually ended following 5 straight losses, but that’d perhaps be unfair given 2 of his final 3 bouts ended in split decisions.
Evans’ final loss, though – a crushing defeat at the hands of future title challenger Anthony Smith, who turned the legend’s lights out at just 53 seconds of the first round – was about as decisive as it could possibly have been. Never blessed with the greatest chin, it was pretty clear after that fight that Evans just couldn’t absorb punishment anymore.
And so less than a month after the defeat, Evans made the call and hung up his gloves for good. Thankfully there hasn’t been any talk of him making a return to action since – which probably makes sense given he likely wouldn’t be hurting for money due to his current status as one of the UFC’s analysts on their ESPN broadcasts.