The 411 MMA Top 10 6.01.14: Top 10 Fighters That Should Consider Retirement
Posted by Alex Rella on 06.02.2014
From Wanderlei Silva and Dan Henderson to Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Frank Mir, Mirko Cro Cop and more, 411's Alex Rella counts the top 10 fighters that should consider retirement!
Ten Fighters That Should Consider Retirement
What's up everybody, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at ten fighters that should really be considering retiring at this point in their careers. The list should be pretty straight forward as it is comprised of fighters that are unsuccessfully competing well past their primes. Your body can only take so much after years of fighting. Not only are these fighters no longer competing at a high level, but they are putting their health in serious risk. So the rankings are based on their recent performances, age, how bad they've been getting beat, and some of my personal opinion mixed in.
10: Matt Hamill
This one I was kind of torn on placing here. I like Matt Hamill signing with the World Series of Fighting and it could extend his career for a few more years. Their light heavyweight division is pretty shallow, so he could become a top fighter for them if he looks like the Hammer from a few years ago. But you can't ignore how poor he's looked since returning from his brief retirement in 2012. You can kind of give him a pass for the Roger Hollett fight at UFC 152 since it was his first one back and it was a grappler vs grappler fight, but the fight vs Thiago Silva last year was just horrible. At several points in the fight he bent over and put his hands on his knees because he was so exhausted. It was so bad that the UFC cut him. I hope moving over to the WSOF will breathe some new life into his career, but the odds are against him at 37. His first fight in the company this summer should show what he has left in the tank.
9: Mirko Cro Cop
After Mirko Cro Cop lost to Roy Nelson at UFC 137 in 2011, he announced that was his farewell fight and he would no longer be competing in MMA. He returned on New Year's Eve 2012 to defeat a sumo wrestler with no MMA experience and he was submitted by Oleksiy Oliynyk in 2013. It's clear he isn't fighting full time in MMA anyymore, but even then he's still taking some serious risks. He's got a fight coming up with Satoshi Ishii and I just don't see that ending well for him. His body has been through a lot of battles at 39 and I personally think he should just stick to kickboxing at this point. He's gone 6-1 since returning to kickboxing, the one loss was controversial, and it's just less grueling on the body.
8: Roxanne Modafferi
Roxanne Modafferi was one of the early women's MMA pioneers that really doesn't get the credit she deserves like many others. She started competing in MMA back in 2001 while still a junior in college. The Happy Warrior has picked up wins over Marloes Coenen, Tara LaRosa, and Vanessa Porto. She even challenged for the Strikeforce bantamweight title back in 2010, but it appears the sport has passed her by now. She's on a six fight losing streak at 31 and couldn't win her way into the UFC through TUF. Modafferi has a degree in Japanese language and literature with a minor in linguistics so it's not like fighting is her only option in life. She signed with Invicta not too long ago and I really hope she does well over there, but it won't be easy.
7: Frank Mir
Frank Mir is arguably the most highly decorated heavyweight in UFC history with two title reigns, the most wins, fights, finishes, and a bunch of wins over other former champs and legends. But he's on a four fight losing streak now and is no longer an elite fighter. While he's getting older at 35 and was completely dominated in the four fights, he wasn't really brutalized in these fights either. JDS knocked him out, but two were boring unanimous decision losses and then there was the controversial stoppage loss to Josh Barnett. So I don't think his health is in jeopardy like most of the other fighters on the list, but the end is drawing near for his career. It looks like the UFC will give him one more chance to win and the guy makes two hundred grand a fight so you would hope he saved some away. Mir was a pretty good commentator back for the WEC, so I'm sure somebody would give him a job once he does retire too.
6: Wanderlei Silva
MMA writers and fans have been calling for Wanderlei Silva's retirement for years. While he's 4-7 in his last eleven fights going back to the end of Pride in 2006, most of his fights have been awesome. The Axe Murderer has received seven post fight bonuses in his nine UFC fights. He could have retired after his amazing victory over Brian Stann, but I was excited to see what else he could do in a return to light heavyweight. But now things aren't looking good for him after all this drama with Chael Sonnen. The fight has been pushed back twice and is now officially cancelled because he wouldn't take a random drug test. Silva says the person showed up with forms he didn't understand in English, but either way it's going to be incredibly difficult for him to get a license to fight for the UFC. It also doesn't help that he's pissed off the UFC management either. This would be a lackluster way to end a legendary career.
5: Jeff Monson
I always liked watching Jeff Monson fight, even though his anarchy stuff can be odd at times. A heavyweight at only 5'9, Monson used his strong grappling and wrestling to pick up forty nine wins. He's competed all over in UFC, Pride, Dream, Strikeforce, M-1 Global, and a million other smaller promotions. But Monson is no longer racking up wins like he used to. He's 43 now and has lost six in a row. Three of them have been against guys I've never even heard of and only one fight went to the judges. Monson has a Master's degree in psychology and has worked as a counselor in the past, so he has options out there. But unfortunately he'll probably keep going.
4: Tim Sylvia
Tim Sylvia had a nice run from late 2009 to mid 2012 when he was trying really hard to get back into the UFC. He went 7-1 during this stretch to improve his record to 31-7, but then he went up against Andrei Arlovski in One FC back in 2012 and things haven't been going so well since then. That one ended in a weird no contest because Arlovski didn't beg permission to use a soccer kick and Sylvia has officially lost three other fights since then. The former UFC heavyweight champion is never going to be welcomed back into the Octagon at this point and he should really try to come to terms with that. Sylvia is 38, almost never even makes heavyweight anymore, and his most recent loss was to Ruslan Magomedov who just won a lackluster decision on the UFC prelims this weekend. Things may not have gone as well as he might have hoped when he left the UFC in 2008, but Sylvia still has had a great career even if he never wins again. Which is likely at this point.
3: Dan Henderson
Dan Henderson and the UFC management really need to sit down and talk about retirement soon. A true living legend, Henderson is a former Pride and Strikeforce champion. But it's been really tough to watch his fights lately. Hendo is 1-4 in his last five fights and has looked really old. He didn't even make 200 lbs for his last fight with Dan Cormier. He's probably going to keep going until the UFC cuts him. If Hendo wanted to retire on a nice win, the last fight Shogun would have been perfect. He talked about dropping down to middleweight, but it's been four years since he last fought at 185 lbs and that one didn't go too well for him. Maybe he picks up another win or two, but most likely his next couple fights are going to look the same. Hopefully he just goes up against other aging legends that are less likely to hurt him.
2: Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira is the second greatest heavyweight of all time having held championships in Pride and the UFC, but it's time for him to hang it up. Big Nog is 3-5 in his last eight and while he's only lost to elite high level heavyweights, those five losses have all been brutal to watch. He's been knocked out cold three times, submitted twice, and had his arm broken during one of them. The argument can be made that Big Nog is still a top fifteen heavyweight, but he's become very slow, hittable, and his once great chin gone. He's recently talked about wanting more fight with Frank Mir, which wouldn't be a terrible fight to make or go out on, but he could go 0-3 with that one.
1: Jens Pulver
How can any other fighter be number one this week? Jens Pulver was one of the first truly great fighters at lightweight and became the first UFC champion at 155 lbs back in 2001. But he's 38 now and things haven't been going well for him since he challenged Urijah Faber for the WEC featherweight title back in 2008. He's 5-11 since then and almost all of those losses have been some brutal finishes. His chin is clearly gone and he just can't compete at featherweight or even bantamweight anymore. Not only is Pulver losing to guys nobody has heard of, but he has to be doing some serious damage to his body at this point. There will always be smaller promotions willing to have a former UFC champ fight for them, so Pulver will keep fighting until he finally makes the smart decision to walk away or until he physically can't walk into the cage anymore.
• So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fighter out that you thought should be in the top 10.
• As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.