Having been fighting in the sport for 12 years, Johny Hendricks announced his retirement taking yet another incredible fighter out of the Octagon. Despite Hendricks announcing that he had no regrets in his decision to leave the sport, many fans of the 34-year-old will be disappointed with his decision. Hendricks isn’t the first big name in the sport to have decided to leave, with a number of the sport’s megastars announcing their retirement over the past few years. Here, we’re taking a look at some of the most shocking announcements in the sport.
After being defeated by Daniel Cormier at UFC 210, Anthony Johnson announced a shock retirement stating that he’d given commitment to another job – with many rumours suggesting that this could be American football. Despite some controversy with the fight due to Cormier missing the weight on the first weigh-in, the fight went ahead without UFC having the knowledge that Johnson had already decided that it would be his last fight. Johnson said: “I didn’t even tell [UFC boss] Dana White. My coaches knew, my family knew, my friends knew. I didn’t want any distractions.” Johnson was well known for his intimidating presence in the Octagon and for his incredible knockout power. With the nickname ‘Rumble’ it’s a sad sight to see Johnson walk away from the sport. Cormier on the other hand, remains a prominent figure in the sport and is set to take part in a ‘Super Fight’ as the main event of UFC 226 against UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic.
As the young Irishman was taking the MMA world by storm, he announced a shock retirement on Twitter after disagreements between himself and UFC president Dana White came to light. Having been defeated by Nate Diaz despite being the favourite to win, a rematch was on the cards at the time and McGregor was still said to have been training despite his retirement announcement, although he was later pulled from the fight as a result of refusing to fulfil his media obligations. Despite his retirement announcement, McGregor avenged his defeat against Diaz as the main event of UFC 202, and then went on to beat Eddie Alvarez in UFC 205 to become the first UFC fighter to hold two titles simultaneously. Although no-one is quite sure of whether or not his retirement announcement was sincere, McGregor hasn’t stepped foot in the Octagon since the Alvarez fight, having switched to boxing only to be defeated by the incredible Floyd Mayweather. Will McGregor make a comeback or is he gone for good? Nobody knows for certain but many fans believe that this is simply a publicity stunt and McGregor will indeed be back to fight in the Octagon once again.
Meisha Tate is well-known for helping to bring women’s MMA to the mainstream alongside the likes of Ronda Rousey, who was recently named to the UFC hall of fame. However, in a post-fight interview after UFC 205, Tate stunned the crowd by announcing an immediate retirement, stating that she’ll “love this sport forever” but that it is no longer her time and instead “it’s the future’s time”. The announcement came after dropping a unanimous decision to Raquel Pennington. Tate was a UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion having submitted Holly Holm at UFC 196 and the announcement of her retirement removed her long-discussed face-off for the third time with longstanding rival Ronda Rousey. Tate retired with a record of 18 wins and 7 losses.
Georges St-Pierre is one of the most successful MMA fighters of all time, having held the UFC Welterweight title since 2007. In 2013 however, St-Pierre announced to Dana White that he would be venturing on an indefinite hiatus from the sport, as a result of wanting to “live a normal life”. Despite the announcement shocking the sporting world at the time, the king of the welterweight decision was actually commended for making a courageous professional decision. Despite the retirement announcement, GSP did actually return to the Octagon in 2017 where he defeated Bisping to become Middleweight Champion. Nevertheless, St-Pierre vacated the title just 34 days later stating that he was suffering ulcerative colitis and didn’t want to hold up the division as he would be unable to fight in the short term. Could this be the true end of GSP or could we see a return of both McGregor and GSP to face-off for the true title?
These are just a few of the main names who have announced their retirement, all of whom will be sorely missed by their fans – although we’re highly likely to see a return from some of the fighters listed above. However, with these fighters departing, a wave of new talent is set to step foot into the Octagon with the likes of Nathaniel Wood, Tim Barnett and Kenneth Bergh being tipped as some of the hottest prospects in the sport, further helping to boost its overall popularity around the world.