(The first of Riley’s epic pair of HOOKnSHOOT bouts with Yves Edwards. The second is after the jump.)
16 years, 44 (sanctioned) fights and at least three broken jaws. Ladies and gentlemen of the Potato Nation, Aaron Riley has seen it all.
A nine-fight UFC veteran, Riley announced his retirement from the sport via Twitter yesterday after coming up short against Justin Salas on the Facebook portion of the UFC on FOX 8 undercard.
Riley’s loss to Salas was the first time the seasoned veteran had made a UFC appearance since UFC 135 in September of 2011, where he suffered a broken jaw in the first round of his fight with TUF 13 winner Tony Ferguson.
Beginning his MMA career in 1997, Riley built his name under the HOOKnSHOOT banner, fighting alongside (and often with) such future UFC staples as Chris Lytle and Yves Edwards. And not unlike Lytle, Riley would quickly earn a reputation as one of the sports toughest and oft underappreciated brawlers.
Riley’s first and second stints in the UFC would be short ones, however. In his promotional debut, Riley would be outgunned by fellow slugger Robbie Lawler en route to a unanimous decision loss at UFC 37. After scoring an impressive head kick KO of Michihiro Omigawa at PRIDE – Bushido 7, Riley would earn a trip back to the octagon…where he would have his jaw broken by Spencer Fisher at Fight Night 3.
It would be two years before we would see Aaron Riley in the UFC again. When he did return at UFC 91, however, he would partake in one of the greatest fights of the decade against Jorge Gurgel. It was a fight featuring such a ridiculous volume of strikes that at one point in the second round, the Fightmetric staff allegedly threw their hands in the air and said, “Fuck it, who wants a beer?”
Riley would emerge victorious from that Fight-of-the-Night earning bout and would compete six more times under the UFC banner, scoring wins over Shane Nelson and Joe Brammer.
Again, the comparison to Chris Lytle is inevitable. Both were highly entertaining brawlers who, while never coming within eyesight of a title shot, put the fans entertainment before their records, their careers and more importantly, themselves. Pay your respects to a true pioneer in the comments section, then do yourself a favor and watch his pair of fights with Yves Edwards. Then find us a video of his fight with Lytle, because we heard that shit was insane.