The shelf life of a fighter is a very difficult time to measure. A quick look six years back, these were the champions of the UFC: Matt Hughes was the Welterweight Champion, Rich Franklin was the Middleweight Champion, Chuck Liddell at Light Heavyweight, and Tim Silvia had the Heavyweight belt. How many of these former champs are still at the top of their division? The answer is none. No one is even close.
Back in 2005, after two knock out loses to Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, Randy Couture retired from the UFC. At the age of 42, he was a three time UFC Champion and had very little left to prove inside the cage. Everyone felt he retired at the right time; that is until he came back a year later and breathed new life into the UFC’s Heavyweight Division. Coming out of retirement, he beat then champion Tim Silvia to with the Heavyweight Championship. Now at age 47, he’ll enter the cage against former Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida when the UFC comes to Toronto next month.
Looking back again to 2005, Couture’s first knockout loss to Liddell was when The Iceman first won the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. This was the start of five successful title defenses in a row and had many naming Chuck Liddell the best fighter in the world. In more recent times, he’s been brutally knocked out in his last three fights which lead him to retire, and become the UFC’s Vice President of Business Development.
After each one of Chuck Liddell’s knockout losses, UFC President Dana White and fans alike, would plead with the former Champion to hang it up for fear of permanent damage both physically and to his legacy. So this begs the question who, currently fighting, should call it quits? Here’s my Top Five Choices for Retirement:
5) Phil Baroni. Yes, the “New York Bad Ass” is charismatic and a great talker, however, his early career was about knocking people out and his later fights were about him getting knocked out. A look at his record, at 13 wins and 13 losses, it says loud and clear, it’s time.
Life After the Fight? Who wouldn’t want to hear Baroni on Color Commentary!
4) Fedor Emelianenko, I believe that Fedor is still one of the top heavyweights in the world. After his two back-to-back loses, he started to contemplate retirement. I believe he should retire. Not for fear of physical damage, but damage to his legacy. He is one of the very few who can be named the greatest fighter ever in MMA.
Life After the Fight? Fedor is the type who would be just as happy living a simple, peaceful life in Russia. I hope his management lets him have his peace.
3) Andrei “The Pit bull” Arlovski. Physically The Pit Bull is a monster. Still healthy, still strong, still very skilled. Unfortunately, the rest of his body forgot to tell his chin. You can train all you want, but you cannot un-train a glass jaw. With four losses in a row, and three of them by devastating knockout, I’m beginning to fear for the former UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Life After the Fight? Arlovski is a real life Ivan Drago. So put him in the movies!
2) Tito Ortiz. The Huntington Beach Bad Boy is an icon in the UFC, he just hasn’t fought that way since destroying Ken Shammrock twice in 2006. Tito is way past his prime, but has so many side projects, I say he should just hang them up.
Life After the Fight? Along with all his projects, I’d like to see Tito Ortiz dedicate himself to training young, up and coming fighters. He showed on The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 that he really great at training fighters.
1) Ken Shammrock. I’ll sum this up by answering the question you’re asking; yes, he is still fighting.
Life After the Fight? Time for the former Intercontinental Champion to return to the WWE and regain his title! Hey, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin are back, why not Ken Shammrock.