Friday, February 13, 2009

MMA Fighters That SHOULD Retire

It happens to the best of them, eventually. It's hard to know who figures it out first, the fighter or the spectators (trainers, friends, writers, fans). Does the fighter know, not feel, when it's time to retire? Or is the fighter merely going with the flow, fight by fight? So here, without further doubt, are a list of MMA fighters who should hang it up and save a few more losses from their records.

1. Kasushi Sakuraba



A true MMA legend in his prime, Sakuraba left the world of staged Pro Wrestling (where he "fought" Bad News Brown) and entered the arena of true NHB Fighting. No gloves or time limit when Sakuraba stepped into the ring. And he did it in grand fashion, beating the man who ushered in MMA in America as we know it, Royce Gracie. And then he broke Renzo's arm and a legend was born.

But now, it is Sakuraba who has been losing in grand fashion. It may have started after his loss to the bigger Igor Vovchanchyn. Or maybe at the crushing KO defeat of Wanderlei Silva. Heck, there was also CroCop's destruction of Sakuraba. Either way,Sakuraba has seen the best of his wins and it would be nice, if ideally, those that threw him to the wolves would throw him a nice job which will keep him in MMA. (See Bas Rutten)

2. Chuck Liddell



Few fighters in MMA have reached the level of stardom as the Iceman. Even fewer have had his success in two rival organizations. But many have crashed as hard as Liddell has recently. In his prime, Liddell was an excellent striker with some of the best take down defenses in all of MMA. And if your name was not Quinton Jackson, you avoided a rematch with the Iceman. It's not that Liddell has been losing more than he has been winning lately that's alarming: It's the face that he has been knocked unconscious in a manner that mean, "this is only the beginning." Add the fact that Liddell looked less than thrilled to have to tango with Jackson a third time and we see the warrior leaving his being.

Chuck is still a good fighter who can, and will, be marketed for all he's worth. But the flip has been switched and once that happens, there's no reverse.

3. Jens Pulver



He used to be the best little big man in a sport that was still shrouded in controversy. If a prime Pulver were around today, the UFC could not market him enough. But his prime was 7 years ago. A time when Pulver could win and barely lose. But ever since he ran into the fists of Duane Ludwig, Pulver can's seem to win against a good puncher. He can only seem to be kayoed, unless he is submitted first.

4. Jeremy Horn



He is MMA's version of the boxers of yesteryear. Warriors who fought hard and often; beating future greats as well as their contemporaries. Horn is one of the few, very few, MMA fighters who can boast a successful career spanning almost 15 years and more than 100 fights and a winning percentage of 80 (or so)--and he's only 33!

But in his last 7 fights, he has lost 5.And though those losses were to top-ranked fighters, none of his wins in between were to fighters that made you believe Horn could be champion.

5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira



He's survived the bombs of Fedor Emelianenko, Bob Sapp, Mirko Filipovich, Heath Herring, Semmy Schilt, Mark Coleman, Josh Barnett, etc., and gets KO'd by a submission specialist! Oh, the irony.

Nog is a certain MMA Hall of Famer. He is the best Brazilian HW ever. He has beaten every heavyweight, except Fedor, of his era. He has nothing left to prove. He only has wins, and losses, to add to his record. And neither will take away from his legacy. Here's hoping Noguiera and Evander Holyfield can find peace in their legacy.

6. Yves Edwards



He will always be dangerous from the waist down. And his ground game is solid as well. But his chin will always feel the effect of a good kick or punch. Yves is rapidly approaching the rank of fighter than can only win if he strikes lightning in a bottle. Now this is just fine if you're a fighter looking for a payday. But it spells doom for a fighter who used to rely on technique rather than a flying knee. You can't "catch" someone in checkmate; you have to maneuver them into that position.

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