The 411 MMA Top 10 09.17.12: Top Ten Retirement Fights
Posted by Alex Rella on 09.17.2012
From Randy Couture vs Lyoto Machida and Chris Lytle vs Dan Hardy to Frank Shamrock vs Nick Diaz, Chuck Liddell vs Rich Franklin and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 retirement fights of all-time!
Top Ten Retirement Fights
Hey there gentle readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at the top ten retirement fights. But first, Thoughts from last week and other random stuff:
Ľ Last week's list was the top ten fighters to never win a championship. Some of you disagreed with my criteria for the list as I didn't count tournaments or grand prix's as a championship. Some of you need to relax, I'm not diminishing their careers or saying these weren't huge accomplishments. Those just weren't the type of championships I was considering while making last week's list.
Ľ But there will be a tournament/grand prix top ten coming up in the near future.
Ľ A few of you thought Diego Sanchez should have made the cut last week. I guess I could maybe see him as an honorable mention but he doesn't crack the top ten. Also its ridiculous to say he was better than Kenny Florian.
Ľ Ihor Vovchanchyn was brought up and that's a pretty good pick. But Rickson Gracie on the other hand barely fought.
Ľ Also I'm excited for Anderson Silva vs Stephan Bonnar.
Back to this week's list
The end of different fighter's careers isn't always pretty. Many times guys fight well past the point they should be and it doesn't go well. Though, sometimes fighters do get a nice farewell or final fight. They usually don't win their final fight but the guys on this week's list had a strong performance to end their careers in a respectable fashion. So the factors that played into this week's list is the quality of the fight, the significance, surrounding factors going into it, and some personal opinion.
Also this list is for true retirements when guys stayed retired. So you won't see fights like Bj Penn vs Nick Diaz on here.
Ľ Mirko Cro Cop vs Roy Nelson UFC 137- this was a solid fight and Cro Cop looked pretty good in it. He threw some sick elbows that would have knocked out most other fighters. But it doesn't make the top ten because Cro Cop has said recently that he only retired from the UFC and not MMA all together. I guess we'll have to see if he does actually return.
10:Frank Shamrock vs Nick Diaz
The Legend fought sporadically for the last couple years of his career that he spent in Strikeforce. Shamrock's last fight took place in April 2009 as he took on Nick Diaz in a 179 pound catchweight fight. I'm pretty sure this is the lightest he ever fought at in his career. The first round had some nice exchanges with Diaz coming out on top. By the second round Shamrock was out of gas and he would lose by TKO with a little over a minute left in the round. Shamrock would announce his retirement over a year later.
9: Mark Coleman vs Randy Couture UFC 109
I talked about this fight a few weeks ago when I was doing Couture's top ten fights and it fits here as well. Coleman was 1-1 since returning to the UFC in 2009 and was coming off a unanimous decision win against Stephan Bonnar at UFC 100. The two hall of famers were originally supposed to fight at UFC 17 when Randy Couture was the heavyweight champion but the fight was cancelled due to Couture being injured. Though, Couture and Coleman did wrestle each other in 1989 in which Coleman won by one point. I think that would be pretty cool to watch too. This was the only time two UFC Hall of Famers would fight each other and their combined age was 91 which is also a record. Couture out boxed Coleman and took him down to win by rear naked choke in the second round. Coleman was released by the UFC after the loss. This wasn't a great fight but it was fun to see two legends finally fight.
8: Randy Couture vs Lyoto Machida UFC 129
Unlike most of the fighters on this list, Couture was looking strong coming into his final fight. Couture was on a three fight win streak when he went up against Lyoto Machida at UFC 129. The first round was your standard first round of a Machida fight with some strategic but uneventful fighting. Then he got knocked out with a karate kid style crane kick in the second round. Couture announced beforehand that it would have been his last fight but you have to wonder if he would have reconsidered if he won, as Machida went on to get a title shot against Jones afterwards.
7:Bas Rutten vs Ruben Villareal
While training to drop down and compete in the UFC's light heavyweight division in 1999, Rutten suffered a series of injuries and was forced to retire. But in 2006 Rutten announced that he was returning for one more fight in the World Fighting Alliance. He was originally supposed to fight Kimo Leopoldo but Leopoldo tested positive for steroids two days before the event. He was replaced by Ruben Villareal. A bit of a step down but it happens. Rutten won by TKO in the first round when Villareal wasn't able to stand after some sick leg kicks. It was just nice to see the legend comeback for one night to leave on his own terms.
6:Kenny Florian vs Jose Aldo UFC 136
Kenny Florian has come up a few times lately and his last fight gets a spot on here as well. Florian spent most of his career fighting at lightweight but dropped down to featherweight after losing a number one contender fight to Gray Maynard at UFC 118. Florian earned a title shot against Jose Aldo after defeating Diego Nunes at UFC 131. Florian would win the first round but would lose out in the next four. It was a close competitive fight but Florian fell short in his final title opportunity. This was one of Aldo's better fights as well. Florian would announce his retirement a few months later due to injuries.
5:Sam Stout vs Spencer Fisher
Spencer Fisher was never a great fighter but he was usually fun to watch. Fisher recently retired a few months ago with a 24-9 (10-8 UFC) record. Fisher was known most for was his exciting trilogy with Sam Stout. Every time these two would get in the octagon it would just be three great rounds of fighting. So it was fitting that his last fight would be against Stout as they closed out their trilogy this past June. He lost by unanimous decision to Stout but it won Fight of the Night. It was Fisher's third loss in a row but it was a strong performance to go out with.
4: Chris Lytle vs Dan Hardy
Chris "Lights Out" Lytle had an exciting career and somebody I completely forgot about while making last week's list. Lytle had a 10-10 record in the UFC that included six Fight of the Night awards. Lytle went up against Dan Hardy on August 14, 2011 and informed Dana White at the weigh ins that he would be retiring. Lytle was stepping away from fighting so he could spend more time with his family but has since stated that he would come back if needed to fill in on short notice. But this fight was a fitting way for Lytle to go out. It was an exciting fight with Lytle getting the better of most of their striking exchanges. Lytle choked out Hardy in the third round as he would win his final Fight of the Night award and the Submission of the night as well.
Also here are the first two rounds of the fight, I don't why the third was cut off but it's better than nothing.
3:Fedor Emelianenko vs Pedro Rizzo
Fedor's last three fights in Strikeforce were pretty bad as lost to Werdum, Antonio Silva, and Dan Henderson. The greatest heavyweight of all time rebounded about as nice as one could with two straight wins fighting at lower level promotions. Jeff Monson has had a solid career but Ishii is a nobody. Fedor would then take on Pedro Rizzo in St. Petersburg in the final fight of his career. Rizzo is a former number one contender in the UFC but those days are behind him and he hadn't fought in over two years. Either way he was a better fighter than Fedor's last two opponents. Fedor would knock out Rizzo early into the first round. One would have liked for the Emperor to have his last fight in a better promotion than M-1 but he went out with a win in front of a huge crowd in his home country.
2: Chuck Liddell vs Rich Franklin UFC 115
Like with many aging fighters, Liddell's chin started to become very weak in his last couple fights. After back to back losses to Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua, everyone could tell that the end of his career was coming soon. Liddell was originally supposed to fight Tito Ortiz for the third time at UFC 115 and they both coached TUF leading up to it. I never understood the logic in booking this fight. Liddell beat Ortiz pretty decisively in the first two. But anyway, Ortiz got injured and had to pull out of the fight. He was then replaced by Rich Franklin. The fight only lasted one round but Liddell was in better shape and fought better than he had in a while. Liddell was bringing the heat immediately and hit Franklin with some brutal kicks, one of which broke Franklin's arm. Liddell had Franklin stunned at the end of the first round and had him up against the cage when Franklin threw a counter right hand that knocked Liddell at 4:55.
1:Tito Ortiz vs Forrest Griffin UFC 148
The last few years of Tito Ortiz's career were less than good as he went 1-7-1 in his last nine fights. But he looked better in his last couple fights starting with the Bader fight. After his loss to Little Nog (which I thought he came back to soon with his ribs from the fight with Evans), Ortiz announced that he would fight for the last time against Forrest Griffin to finish out their trilogy. Due to a few injuries and fights getting moved around, the two ended up fighting in the co-main event. The two easily won Fight of the Night as they had the best fight on a good card. Ortiz would lose the final fight of his career but it was a great fight with three back and forth rounds. So Ortiz went out on his shield to end his great career.
Ľ So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fight out that you thought should be in the top 10.
Ľ As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.