(Almeida retires with a record of 13-5)
In 2008, after a near four-year absence away from fighting, Ricardo Almeida’s desire to return to compete in MMA coaxed him out of an unannounced retirement to sign with the UFC. Since then the Renzo Gracie BJJ black belt has fought eight times, losing three and winning five.
At 34 years of age, Almeida has decided to walk away from the sport despite having a few good fights left in him to spend more time with his family, training his students like Frankie Edgar and to focus on running his Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy.
It’s been a pleasure watching you fight, Big Dog. Props for realizing when it was time to call it quits and doing it when you still had the wits to decide for yourself.
The UFC middleweight-turned-welterweight posted the following message on his personal website late Wednesday evening:
Ricardo Almeida Statement:
Pro Fighting Chapter Comes To A Close, But The Book Is Still Being Written.
Back In 2008 I Decided To Return To MMA. Since Then I Have Had The Privilege Of Fighting Eight Times In The UFC. As A Competitor I Can Think Of No Bigger Thrill Than To Stand In The Center Of The Octagon With My Hands Raised.
During These Almost Four Years It Has Been A Personal Struggle To Find Balance Between My Fighting Career, Caring For My Son Who Was Diagnosed With Autism Soon After I Signed A Six-Fight Deal With The UFC, Teaching At My Growing Jiu Jitsu Academy And The Family Duties We All Have.
MMA Is A Great Sport But Also Physically And Mentally Unforgiving. It Is A Dangerous Task To Step In The Octagon, Specially If Your Focus Is Not At 100%.
After Much Deliberation Since My Fight At UFC 128 I Have Decided To Step Away From The Sport As A Fighter.
I Will Continue To Fully Support The UFC As A Coach And Of Course As A Big Fan. I Would Like To Thank Lorenzo Fertitta And Dana White For Their Leadership And Vision Which Brought The Sport To New Heights. I Would Also Like To Thank Joe Silva For Giving Me The Opportunity To Compete Among The Best Martial Artists In The World.
Renzo Gracie, Mark Henry, Frankie Edgar And All My Teammates Who I Could Not Have Gone Through This Challenge Without.
Finally I Would Like To Thank My Wife, Children And Family As Well As My Students. You Will Have My Integral Dedication From Here On.
Lastly The Fans Who Make MMA The Greatest Sport There Is.