The original Ultimate Fighter champion decided he’d had enough thanks to some nagging injuries, though it seems his dwindling passion for action in the Octagon may have also played a role in the move. Griffin exited the sport with victories in three of four fights and a respectable record against the cream of the light heavyweight crop during his time in the sport. Former heavyweight champion Lesnar called it quits after suffering a TKO loss to Alistair Overeem in late 2011, deciding a paycheck from WWE for scripted scrapping was a bit more appealing than continuing to put his health on the line in real rumbles under the UFC banner. While Lesnar’s heart was never fully in MMA, the promise he showed in an eight-fight career can’t be discounted. He was thrown to the wolves from the beginning and came out on top more often than not, possessing strength and size unlike many of his peers in addition to a polished wrestling background. It’s hard to fault Lytle for hanging his gloves up to spend more time with his family and focus on a career in politics. However, that doesn’t make his leaving any more easy to stomach. Lytle was as tough as nails, competing more than 50 times without ever being finished outside of two cut-based stoppages. He was also fighting as good as he ever had towards the end of his run in the ring, winning five of six scraps including victories over Matt Serra, Dan Hardy, and Matt Brown. “The Prodigy” has teased the notion of making a comeback on a few occasions but seems content to keep on training at his leisure in Hawaii while enjoying the fruits of his successful career. Unfortunately, Penn was 0-2-1 in his last three tilts, but the record was more a result of the fan-favorite being his own worst enemy than the level of competition. Essentially, Penn’s willingness to fight all-comers and lack of interest in dieting as required resulted in far more match-ups than necessary above his ideal fighting weight of 155 pounds. Though Nick Diaz’s retirement after a March loss to Georges St-Pierre was the second time he’d called it quits in a two-year span, the fighter’s decision has stuck thus far without any real talk of him returning to the UFC unless demands are met for a rematch with GSP. Unlike his predecessors on this list, Diaz took himself out of the game rather than saw his hand forced by injury or performance by deciding he could no longer deal with judges’ scoring or a few tenths of a pound St-Pierre might have come in at over the 170-pound limit in their title-fight. Chances are he’ll get sick of sitting around at some point but until that day comes, Stockton’s favorite son is permanently sidelined.
When it comes to discussing Mixed Martial Artists and retirement the conversation tends to be on fighters who have held on a little too long a la
Jens Pulver, , or Chuck Liddell . However, there are plenty of pugilists who have walked away from the UFC with gas left in the tank to the chagrin of countless fans. Here’s a look at five competitors whose time in the Octagon was cut short… (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) Tito Ortiz