In mixed martial arts there is often talk of fighters who have stayed in the sport for too long, with these battle-hardened warriors by their very nature having a never-say-die attitude.

However, there are others who have decided to hang up their gloves sooner rather than later, and though it is a decision that has to be respected given the gruelling nature of the fight game, in this article we’ll look at 10 MMA stars who still had so much to offer in the sport when they called time on their career.

Anthony Johnson

Whether at welterweight or later at light-heavyweight, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson proved himself to be one of the most devastating puncher’s in the history of the UFC.

In fact, during his run in the Octagon, Johnson finished 11 of his 13 victories by strikes, demolishing the likes of Alexander Gustafsson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Glover Teixeira, Phil Davis and Ryan Bader along the way.

During his career, Johnson twice had the opportunity to fight for the UFC 205lb title, but on both occasions he came up against a formidable opponent in Daniel Cormier and lost by submission.

That second defeat in April of 2017 proved to be the final straw for Johnson, who announced his retirement immediately afterwards.

This was a major shock to the MMA community as Johnson was still only 32 at the time and had won 12 of his last 14 fights, but he stated that his heart wasn’t in fighting anymore, that he had concerns about head trauma in the future (though he never actually lost due to strikes) and had a job offer outside of fighting he wanted to pursue.

“Thank god that boy retired,” light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones said sometime later of ‘Rumble,’ no doubt echoing the sentiments of many fighters in the division.

“That made no sense, he was right there as the scariest dude around.”

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