Some UFC fighters have gone away during their peak years, leaving their fans, who regarded them as real legends, in shock. So we’ll go over the UFC fighters that retired as champions to figure out why they retired.
There are so many real legends in the sport of MMA that even the sport’s popularity was greatly reliant on them, yet they all had to hang up their gloves at some point since every athlete has a career lifetime.
If you are an old-school lover of this exhilarating sport, you may have had a sense of sorrow when you could no longer witness your idol in the games.
However, some people are more prepared than others to retire in terms of financially guaranteeing their lives through enterprises and media jobs during their decline to famous age.
When it comes to the UFC, fighters do all they can to avoid retiring until they absolutely have to. Since they would receive a lot of money and popularity if they were champions, there is no reason for them to reject to accomplish more.
Aside from those who are forced to retire due to consecutive defeats, which is an indication of their failure to return to their professional top, some have retired while still in their golden period.
Consider superstars like Brock Lesnar, Anderson Silva, and Daniel Cormier, who quit after suffering a string of defeats at the conclusion of their UFC careers.
However, those few UFC competitors who have reached the pinnacle of their careers only to resign have left their fans perplexed, citing severe ailments and emotional reasons as the primary reasons for their retirement.
He was the inaugural titleholder of the UFC Middleweight Championship, which was subsequently renamed the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. He is widely regarded as one of the best mixed martial artists of all time and one of the first complete mixed martial artists.
During his reign as the UFC Middleweight Champion, he achieved the No. 1 slot in the world’s pound-for-pound UFC fight rating, and he was even honored to retire as a four-time defending unbeaten champion.
His fighting technique evolved from a grounded to a more flawless, well-rounded, and versatile approach that was essential in strengthening his striking combined with his superb ground game.
In 1997, he made his UFC debut against an Olympic unbeaten champion named Kevin Jackson.
Despite being considered an underdog in the bout, he defeated Kevin Jackson by armbar in the first round in 16 seconds. Following that, he successfully defended his championship four fights in the UFC, the most recent of which was against Tito Ortiz.
As one of The Best UFC Fighters, he sealed his spot as the best UFC champion in history with this victory, earning the approval of UFC owner Bob Meyrowitz and commentator Jeff Blatnick, who dubbed him the greatest fighter in the promotion’s history.
After going 5–0 in title contests decisively, he lost his title to retire from the UFC in 1999 and later served as a consultant and pundit for the promotion as one of the 5 Great Retired UFC Champions.
After being named one of the top five retired MMA fighters, he returned to the sport and competed for organizations such as K-1, WEC, Strikeforce, and EliteXC.
He was a UFC Heavyweight Champion and a three-time King of Pancrase world champion as a Dutch–American actor, former mixed martial artist, kickboxer, and professional wrestler who finished his career on a 22-fight undefeated streak (21 wins, 1 draw).
The liver shot (both punch and kick) was one of his favorite strategies in professional combat, and he popularised its use in MMA.
Despite being hailed as the “world’s finest martial artist” by the Pancrase organization, he joined the UFC with considerable fanfare and signed a contract with them in 1998.
As a result, following his stellar career in Pancrase, he came off a 19-match winning run and made his UFC debut against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka in 1999, making him one of the top 5 retired MMA fighters.
On May 7, 1999, as certainly considered one among The Best UFC Fighters, he battled Kevin Randleman for the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 20.
Although he absorbed unanswered assault from his opponent in the opening four minutes of the battle, and his face became bloodied, he unleashed a strong kick to Randleman’s liver to slow him down for the rest of the fights and moments.
However, he resigned from the championship later in the year in order to compete at middleweight (now known as light-heavyweight), weight closer to his natural weight, in a bid to become the first person to hold a UFC title in two divisions.
However, he was unable to continue his career since, while training for his next UFC bout in 1999, he suffered many severe injuries, including blowing out his knee (a long-running injury), ripping his biceps, and a neck injury.
As a result, he had to withdraw from MMA combat under the doctor’s recommendations in order to be featured in our list of the top 5 retired MMA fighters.
He is a former professional mixed martial artist and freestyle wrestler from the United States who was a champion in the UFC’s Flyweight and Bantamweight divisions.
He has the distinction of being the fourth UFC fighter to hold belts in two separate divisions at the same time, as well as the second to successfully defend crowns in two different weight classes.
Not to mention the fact that he is the first fighter in history to win both an Olympic gold medal and a UFC championship. In addition to being regarded as one of the best UFC fighters, he is also considered one of the greatest combat athletes of all time due to his accomplishments in MMA and freestyle wrestling. He was also honored to be the youngest American gold medalist in the sport of wrestling when he received the gold medal for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
He signed with the UFC on July 25, 2014, and made his first appearance for them on December 13, 2014, when he faced Dustin Kimura in the bantamweight class and won by unanimous decision.
He then fought Demetrious Johnson in a rematch for the UFC Flyweight Championship title in the co-main event of UFC 227 on August 4, 2018, after two years of battling to win the championship.
After successfully defending the championship against TJ Dillashaw five months later, he abandoned it in order to return to the bantamweight division.
Later, he fought Marlon Moraes at UFC 238 and won the gold by defeating him by TKO in the third round to become the bantamweight champion, earning him his second Performance of the Night bonus award.
After being named to our list of 5 Great Retired UFC Champions, he was inactive due to a shoulder injury until 2020, when he successfully defended his UFC bantamweight championship against Dominick Cruz by TKO in the second round.
He announced his retirement shortly after as one of the five UFC fighters that retired as champions, however some thought that it was not permanent.
Let’s see who else is on the list of The Greatest MMA Fighters of All Time. He is a Canadian retired professional mixed martial artist and actor who is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history.
In the UFC, he was a two-division champion, having won belts in the welterweight and middleweight divisions. He is a three-time former UFC welterweight champion and a former UFC middleweight champion, making him one of the UFC fighters that retired as champions.
He has the record for the second-most championship fight victories (13) in UFC history, has defended his title nine times in a row, and has the second-longest combined title streak in UFC history (2,204 days).
He was only defeated twice in his illustrious career, by Matt Hughes and Matt Serra, and he avenged both defeats later in his career, therefore he fully deserves to be featured in our list of UFC fighters who retired as champions.
In his first fight, at UFC 46 in 2004, he defeated highly ranked Karo Parisyan by majority decision, and in his second fight, at UFC 48, he defeated Jay Hieron by technical knockout in only 1:42 of the first round.
He won his tenth welterweight championship defense against Johny Hendricks in a disputed decision in 2013, as one of five UFC fighters who retired as champions after a slew of matches. Despite getting pounded for the majority of the bout, he was able to win by unanimous decision.
At the UFC 167 post-fight press conference, he announced that he was walking away from competing “for a short while” as one of the 5 Great Retired UFC Champions. As a result, he resigned from his championship after a month and retired as the reigning welterweight champion.
Of course, this was not the end of his story; he returned to the UFC to further his famous career; after all, he is regarded as one of the top five retired MMA fighters.
That is to say, when he returned to the Octagon in November 2017, he faced middleweight champion Michael Bisping, who he defeated by rear-naked choke at UFC 217 to capture the middleweight title and become the fourth fighter in UFC history to be a multi-division champion. However, due to a medical issue known as ulcerative colitis, he resigned from the championship after 34 days.
Despite revealing on the La Sueur podcast on December 13, 2018, that he had fully recovered from ulcerative colitis, he has yet to decide whether or not to return to the octagon.
Unfortunately, his formal retirement was announced on February 21, 2019, at a press conference at the Bell Centre in Montreal, much to the dismay of his supporters.
Nonetheless, the UFC announced on May 9, 2020, that St-Pierre will be inducted into the Modern Wing of the UFC Hall of Fame.
He fought in the lightweight division of the Championship as the longest-reigning UFC Lightweight Champion, holding the championship from April 2018 to March 2021. He was one of the UFC fighters that retired as champions.
Most remarkably, he is unquestionably an integral part of the 5 UFC fighters who retired as champions, with a record of 29 victories and no defeats.
While he signed a deal with the UFC in late 2011 to participate in six lightweight fights, he made his UFC debut on January 20, 2012, at UFC on FX 1, when he defeated Kamal Shalorus via submission in the third round.
Among his several UFC triumphs, his fight against Edson Barboza at UFC 219 on December 30, 2017 stands noteworthy.
That is to say, he controlled all three rounds, brought Barboza down numerous times, and used ground and pound to establish dominance in the fight, winning by unanimous decision and earning his first Performance of the Night prize.
Similarly, in his 2018 battle against Al Iaquinta, he was able to control the fight and win by unanimous decision to become the UFC Lightweight Champion.
He also made his first defense of his lightweight championship against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 on October 6 in Las Vegas, in one of the most popular fights on the globe.
Specifically, although winning the first two rounds, he was unable to overcome McGregor in the third round, since it was the first time in his UFC career that he had lost around.
But, hopefully, he was able to defeat McGregor by submission in the fourth round. This fight garnered 2.4 million pay-per-view buys, the biggest ever for a mixed martial arts event.
He also defended the championship twice more, against Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, in addition to this one. In the aftermath of his victory against Gaethje at UFC 254, he announced his retirement in the wake of his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov’s death.
Dana White, the president of the UFC, tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to return, but his attempts were in vain.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement was officially announced in March 2021, while his status as an unbeaten lightweight champion earned him a spot on the list of UFC fighters who retired as champions.
Finally, while he held the top slot in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings at the time of his retirement and until his removal following his title vacation in March 2021, he is widely considered one of the most effective mixed martial artists of all time.
Furthermore, upon his retirement, he bought the Gorilla Fighting Championship (GFC), a Russian-based MMA company, for $1 million and rebranded it the Eagle Fighting Championship (EFC).