Heavyweight Frank Mir may be one of the best grapplers in the division but his chin is shot. He’s on a three-fight slide including knockouts to Junior dos Santos and Josh Barnett, and hasn’t shown the ability to absorb damage in some time. He also leans on TRT as a crutch and that in itself is reason to reconsider retirement when the results aren’t there. For years Mauricio Rua was seen as the top 205er in MMA thanks to his impressive showings in PRIDE featuring success against Alistair Overeem, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Quinton Jackson. However, since signing with the UFC in 2007 he has been mediocre at best. Even if you remove his controversial loss to Lyoto Machida, “Shogun” is only 5-5 in the Octagon. He doesn’t seem to have the same fire or firepower as he did in his mid-20s and, after a recent submission loss to underdog Chael Sonnen, it’s time for Rua to consider a career beyond one in the cage. Otherwise he’s likely to leave his legacy in ruins. When Chris Leben was blasting adversaries into outer-space as a fresh-faced slugger off TUF he was a “must see” Mixed Martial Artist. Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since “The Crippler” was “The Cat Smasher”. He’s dropped four of his last five fights including decision defeats to Andrew Craig and Derek Brunson. Though Leben has a longer leash than some athletes based on his ties to the Ultimate Fighter and fanbase, another defeat to an inferior competitor will make it hard for the UFC to justify keeping him around and Leben isn’t likely to take his talents to the regional scene, making it time for the beloved brawler to call it a career. Since 2008, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is 5-4 but all four losses have featured fairly brutal finishes. He’s also absorbed a lot of damage in his career based on a huge heart and willingness to fight all-comers. Unfortunately, his body has started deteriorating as a result and he’s spent a lot more time on the sidelines than in the Octagon for the last two years. It’s now time for him to consider a permanent stint there. For starters, the battle-worn Brazilian has a losing record in the UFC. While that in itself isn’t always cause for concern, especially when considering who Wanderlei Silva has faced, “The Axe Murderer” is no longer a relevant force based on his inability to stay healthy after a career full of all-out wars. He fought once in 2012 and is in the same boat this year. With his 38th birthday less than a year away, Silva’s remaining scraps in the Octagon should be limited to say the least.
Every Mixed Martial Artist enters the cage with an understanding that the effort could mark his/her final effort based on the dangers involved. However, there are also certain competitors who need to consider a career beyond fighting based on age coupled with recent production. The following list features five such individuals who have delivered high doses of entertainment over the past decade but should seriously give retirement a thought after another outing or two in 2014… (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)