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Kenny Florian and Five Guys Who Are (Probably Not) Retired

by Kevin Marshall   June 01, 2012 at 4:30PM  |  Views: 2,291
Kenny Florian and Five Guys Who Are (Probably Not) Retired photo


Kenny Florian has made it official: he's retiring as an active competitor. His most recent loss to UFC Featherweight champion Jose Aldo put the idea in his head (his third championship opportunity in four weight classes) and a lingering back injury helped seal the deal.

For a guy like Florian, there's plenty of prospects for him when he hits that old dusty trail. He's proven himself a more than capable commentator during recent UFC broadcasts, he coaches guys at his gym, and he generally comes across as someone who could do something with himself outside the fight world.

Still, fight fans know that a retirement from the sport isn't necessarily forever. There's something about the game that pulls guys back in, and it's not always just a simple matter of money. I'm more apt to believe Florian's done with the sport than other recent, or impending announced, retirees. Here's a brief list.

Retiree: JASON "MAYHEM" MILLER

The most recent retiree, Mayhem made a name for himself with flashy entrances and a hit MTV reality show. But his showmanship somehow got on Dana White's bad side, even though others in the UFC have showed up to weigh-ins in ridiculous outfits and had elaborate entrances to the cage. Two disappointing losing performances, though, didn't help his case, and he was cut immediately following his fight last Saturday against CB Dollaway. Before the fight, he had announced that he'd retire if he lost. He re-affirmed his decision to hang it up in the days following the event.

WHAT COULD BRING HIM BACK? The right amount, or combination, of money and health. It seems that Miller went in last Saturday with a bum knee, and he certainly seemed to favor it at various moments throughout the fight. On the other hand, he's also one of those guys that could easily make money not getting punched in the face over and over again. A promotion like Bellator could certainly make a case, but it'd have to be a convincing one. With bills all taped up inside of it like in the movies.

Retiree: BROCK LESNAR

Lesnar's rise in the sport was so amazing and meteoric that even one-time foe Randy Couture recently stated that despite an MMA career that spanned just four years and eight fights (compiling a 5-3 record), he thinks Lesnar would be a worthy entrant into the UFC Hall of Fame. Lesnar sure did look like an unstoppable beast for a brief spell, but health issues relating to a life-threatening case of diverticulitis impeded his reign of destruction and put him on the shelf twice. Then he met the right hand of Cain Velasquez and took another early onslaught and stoppage from Alistair Overeem. After the latter loss he decided that two hellacious beatings were enough for him, and he announced his retirement from the sport. He's now back with Vince McMahon's WWE, but working a very limited schedule that only requires a certain number of appearances a year. It's a good deal for him, since he hates traveling almost as much as he hates getting hit.

WHAT COULD BEING HIM BACK? Money. Curiosity. Boredom. Any combination of the three. As much as people seem convinced that he'll never return to the UFC, wrestling fans know that he swore up and down that he'd never work for Vince McMahon again, either.

Retiree: BJ PENN

Baby Jay might be one of the best pound for pound fighters in the history of the sport and is certainly the consensus best Lightweight fighter we've ever seen. A star across two weight divisions, he also found success at Welterweight despite being on the smaller end of the division. Unfortunately, he could only prove he was the best Welterweight not named Georges St-Pierre, a common problem in that division. After losing the UFC Lightweight title and subsequent rematch to Frankie Edgar, Penn went back to Welterweight but retired after a loss to Nick Diaz stating "I don't want to go home looking like this." Fans and commentators assumed he might have been simply become caught up in an emotional moment, but he turned down a recent offer to fight Josh Koscheck and reiterated that he was done as an active competitor.

WHAT COULD BEING HIM BACK? The right fight. Like Rich Franklin, he might not have a desire to chase a championship or have anything left to prove, but there's still value in him for the occasional superfight.

Retiree: FEDOR EMELIANENKO

Like BJ Penn, many consider "The Last Emperor" to be the greatest fighter his division has ever seen, if not the greatest of all time, period. Fans who only have exposure to him through his Strikeforce stint likely don't have an appreciation for how thoroughly dominant he was in PRIDE against opponents that were, at the time, the best Heavyweights in the world. Then, unfortunately, age and the sport caught up with him. An upset loss by submission to Fabricio Werdum was the beginning of the end, and a bad loss to Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva seemed to indicate his reign was over. His knockout loss to Dan Henderson only confirmed what we already knew, which is that his best days were far behind him. Despite a two fight win streak overseas, Fedor announced that after his forthcoming fight this June in Russia against Pedro Rizzo, he'd be riding off into the sunset.

WHAT COULD BRING HIM BACK? Randy Couture. I know, but hear me out: it was the one fight everyone, including both parties, always wanted to see and never happened. With both now in retirement, a superfight for the right price doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

Retiree: MATT SERRA

He was a competitive Welterweight fighter at a time when the UFC's Lightweight division was in limbo, and when they finally did reinstate it in 2002, he was at the top of the list for title consideration. His greatest notoriety came when he shocked the world by becoming the only fighter to ever KO Georges St-Pierre, winning the UFC Welterweight title in arguably the biggest upset in MMA history. Injuries hampered a rematch between the two, which St-Pierre finally won when it did happen a year later. Serra's only fought sporadically since then, in superfights against longtime rival Matt Hughes, Frank Trigg, and the last time in September of 2010 in a losing effort to Chris Lytle.

WHAT COULD BRING HIM BACK? An itch. Several profile pieces have come out over the last year hinting at a possible return. While he's been focused on the development on his students (Chris Weidman, Costa Philippou and Al Iaquinta are all under his wing), he recently told Ariel Helwani "if I have to lean one way, I'm definitely going to say you're going to see me again."

Photo credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

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