3 Nov 2009 12:06:06 PM
The temptation to keep fighting until you’re nothing more than a broken-down shell of your former self can be an overpowering one. Somehow, these men managed to resist it…
(Rutten vs. Kevin Randleman, UFC 20, 5/7/99)
Though he’s better-known these days as the barely coherent host of Inside MMA and part-time children’s fitness coach, Bas Rutten’s legendary run as a professional fighter ended in 22 consecutive fights without a loss. After knocking off such MMA pioneers as Frank Shamrock (twice), Maurice Smith (twice), and Guy Mezger during his five-year stint in Pancrase, Rutten joined the UFC where he won their vacant heavyweight title in his second Octagon appearance (a split decision over Kevin Randleman at UFC 20). But while preparing for his next fight, Rutten suffered serious injuries to his knee and biceps, and was forced to retire from the sport.
Bas landed on his feet, though – his ongoing commentary gig for PRIDE as well as acting roles kept him busy until he decided he was healthy enough for one last dance around the cage, seven years later. Originally booked to fight Kimo Leopoldo at WFA: King of the Streets in July 2006, Rutten instead faced Ruben “Warpath” Villareal when Leopoldo pissed hot for Stanozolol two days before the fight. The beating was so lopsided that it eventually became featured in a CagePotato Video Tribute. With that last challenge conquered, El Guapo rode off into the sunset for good, an undefeated UFC champion who hadn’t tasted defeat in over 11 years. Party on, indeed.
(Sudo vs. Damacio Page, Premium 2006 Dynamite!!, 12/31/06)
Genki Sudo’s brilliance didn’t end with his unforgettable ring entrances; he was also one of the most skilled submission specialists to ever heel-hook a fat guy. The Neo-Samurai was innovative even when it came to retirement: At the height of his popularity, following a first-round triangle-choke victory over Damacio Page at Premium 2006 Dynamite!!, Sudo announced to the shocked Tokyo Dome crowd that his days as a fighter were over. At that point, he’d won eight of his last nine matches — including victories over Mike Brown, Royler Gracie, and Hiroyuki Takaya — making him one of the only MMA fighters to ever retire in his prime. Sudo now spends his time as a wrestling coach, author, and J-pop star. You know, normal retiree stuff.Read More ADD COMMENTS (20) DIGG THIS