The mixed martial arts world bid farewell to a number of veterans and former champions in 2017, as longtime superstars like Brock Lesnar and Tito Ortiz officially announced their retirement from the sport this year.
While retiring in MMA is like a superhero dying in the comic books (they always come back), we have a feeling that these fighters are unfortunately done with the cage for good. Well, we think.
Ahead, let’s take a look at every MMA fighter who retired in 2017.
WWE superstar and former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar briefly returned to the Octagon to save UFC 200 last year, initially earning a unanimous decision win over Mark Hunt in the highly-anticipated comeback fight.
However, Lesnar ended up failing a drug test, turning his victory into an expensive no contest and a lot of headaches for everyone involved. Rather than deal with the hassle of sitting through a suspension, Lesnar’s people informed the UFC in February that he is officially done with the sport.
UFC 210 was filled with strange and bizarre moments, but one of the most surprising turn of events occurred following the main event clash between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson.
Following a submission loss during their rematch in Buffalo, “Rumble” decided to announce his retirement inside the Octagon while speaking with Joe Rogan. Johnson said that he gave his “commitment to another job,” that’s not related to MMA.
“I’m tired of getting punched by guys and rolling around on the ground with guys,” Johnson told Rogan. “Ain’t nothing fun about that (yo), I enjoyed this (yo).”
As for what that post-UFC career may entail for the light heavyweight star, judging by some interesting moves on his Twitter account, it seems like Johnson is eyeing a new job with the NFL.
It wasn’t pretty, but Tito Ortiz got the job done in his final fight against Chael Sonnen at Bellator 170.
The former UFC champion posted a solid 3-1 record with Bellator, earning wins over the likes of Sonnen, Alexander Shlemenko, and Stephan Bonnar. Following his farewell bout in January, Ortiz even buried the hatchet with his old boss Dana White, who sent his girlfriend a nice text message. Expect to see more of the Huntington Beach Bad Boy on the big screen now that his days in the cage are over.
Mirko Cro Cop
Kickboxing and MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop miraculously rang in the New Year by winning the RIZIN openweight tournament. Although it was an impressive night for the Croatian star, it was also likely his last.
Cro Cop said that, despite his past retirement announcements, “this is definitely it.” Well, that is if he doesn’t get his knee fixed for a farewell fight in Japan. We’ll mark this as “it’s complicated” for now.
Fan-favorite middleweight Tim Kennedy penned a heartfelt note to announce his retirement from the sport in January. The Army veteran was riding a two fight losing skid since his 2014 win over Michael Bisping and most recently suffered a tough TKO loss to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 206.
The longtime star will always be remembered by fans for his no-nonsense demeanor, both inside and outside of the Octagon.
Johnson wasn’t the only UFC veteran who retired at UFC 210, as Canadian striking whiz Patrick Cote also stepped away from the Octagon following his unanimous decision loss to Thiago Alves.
After suffering a pretty one-sided beat down in Buffalo for his second defeat in a row, it seemed like the right time for “The Predator” to call it quits. Unless the 37 year old decides to make a return down the road, Cote wraps up his MMA career with a respectable 23-11 record.
British bantamweight star Brad “One Punch” Pickett got the chance to say farewell to the sport while fighting on home soil at UFC Fight Night London. Unfortunately, the swan song turned into a brutal loss, as Pickett was knocked out with a vicious head kick by Marlon Vera.
Pickett was just 1-6 in his last seven fights, so retirement seemed inevitable for the veteran fighter. Following his last battle inside the Octagon, fans and UFC stars came out in force to honor Pickett on social media.
WMMA icon Marloes Coenen has been a staple of the fight game for years, however, the Dutch combat sports star decided to retire following her TKO loss to Julia Budd at Bellator 174 in March. Coenen was looking to add another title to her collection, but came up short during the bout for the inaugural Bellator women’s featherweight belt.
Coenen’ incredible career includes notable wins over veterans such as Sarah Kaufman, Liz Carmouche, and Roxanne Modafferi.
Retirement was not an easy decision for Irish strawweight Aisling Daly. The now former UFC fighter stepped away from the sport in January when an abnormality was found in a routine brain scan.
Daly last fought in 2015, earning a unanimous decision win over Ericka Almeida in her hometown of Dublin.
English bantamweight Ian Entwistle joined Brad Pickett by retiring at UFC Fight Night London in March. Entwistle’s fight was canceled due to his health issues, likely stemming from a bad weight cut.
The English fighter stated on social media that he was done with cutting weight and putting his health at risk.