Keith Jardine and 10 Tough Guys That Should Retire
Mixed martial arts fans tend to find an emotional connection towards their favorite fighters. It's the nasty pit in our stomach that feels like we swallowed a hot ball of lead any time our hero eats a vicious knockout at the hands of his foe.
Fans and industry personnel alike had begged Chuck Liddell to consider hanging up his gloves after his loss to Shogun Rua, as it was the third tremendous lights-out moment suffered in a five-fight span.
Thankfully, Liddell would take the advance of Dana White and call it a day, but there are still many stars competing who should think about making their way to the door.
One fighter who comes to mind immediately is Keith Jardine. His losses greatly outnumber his wins in recent years, and he has received some hellacious knockouts that will live on highlight reels forever.
Here is a look at 10 fighters, historically known as tough guys, who should call it a day and ride off into the sunset.
Author's Note: I want to address comments that I know are coming before they arrive.
You probably expect to see Wanderlei Silva on this list, but you won't. The former PRIDE champion has looked solid in his last performances and has shown us that he can still take a punch and dole out tremendous punishment.
After big wins over Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell, the Dean of Mean used to be considered a member of the top 10 in the always-stacked UFC light-heavyweight division.
So what happened?
Did fighters suddenly figure out how to defend against the awkward style of the herky-jerky Jardine? Did the TUF lose a step?
Since his victory over Griffin, Jardine has been on the receiving end of five brutal knockouts from world champions like Wanderlei Silva and promotional newcomers like Houston Alexander.
Paired with the fact that the he has compiled a recent record of 0-7-1 against quality opposition, it's hard to argue that the 36-year-old still has what it takes to fight in a major organization.
Heading into a No. 1 contenders bout for the UFC lightweight championship, Roger Huerta was considered to be one of the best fighters on the planet. After all, he had gone 6-0 in the Octagon and hadn't lost any of his last 17 fights.
Notoriously hard to finish, Huerta had only been stopped once in his career, and that was when his jaw was broken by a punch back in 2004. In his last three bouts, however, El Matador has been finished with strikes.
The most recent knockout came in gruesome fashion at a ONE FC event in Malaysia, when a mixed rules contest allowed opponent Zorobabel Moreira to punt Huerta's head like a football.
Now having lost six of his last seven contests, Huerta's day in the sun has arrived. Even though the 29-year-old could feasibly fight for another decade, he takes too much damage every time he steps into the cage, and riding a four-fight losing streak means that he won't smell the reception hall of a major promotion anytime soon.
Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers and Sergei Kharitonov have more in common than just competing in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. All three men hold the distinction of knocking out former UFC Heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski in tremendous fashion.
The photo on this slide goes to show you the thousand-yard stare that Arlovski has had on too many occasions. In fact, Arlovski's longtime boxing coach Mike Garcia even called for the Pit Bull's retirement.
"I didn't mean it like he doesn't have the skills. There's just... I just don't want to see him get hurt. There's something not clicking, and you can see in his last couple fights he's not the same Andrei. He says he wants to fight, I hope he does. But if he doesn't, I just don't want to see him get hurt."
Since this quote was taken, Arlovski has gone 2-0 against less-than-stellar opponents in the ProElite organization. If he continues to fight regional fighters and journeymen, I think we can let him stay at it. But once the big guy attempts to fight a quality name with knockout power, get the smelling salts ready and rent him a room at the nearest hospital.
Rampage Jackson is one of few fighters on this list who hasn't been knocked out in a long time. In fact, the last time that Jackson was finished with strikes came in a 2005 contest against Shogun Rua.
However, the former PRIDE star needs to enter the retirement home for a completely different reason: apathy.
When properly motivated, Jackson can be one of the best in the world. However, finding motivation has been troublesome. Aside from his title shot against Jon Jones and his rematch with Wanderlei Silva, there hasn't been much fire behind the ex-champion.
The most telling example of this came in a contest with heated rival Rashad Evans. Jackson came into the contest out of shape, despite fighting someone who he legitimately wanted to put in the dirt.
After the two-time Ultimate Figher coach begged Dana White to release him, the president appealed to Jackson's sense of right and wrong. "We've honored your contract so far. Honor yours and finish it."
Jackson will fight Glover Teixeira in his final UFC fight at UFC 153 in Brazil.
Jens Pulver used to be one of the best. These days, Li'l Evil is trying to salvage a legacy that has already spoiled like milk that would have been delicious at one point, but has soured in the sun.
Since rejoining the UFC roster in 2006, Pulver's career jumped off a cliff. The former champion has put together a record of 5-10 over the last six years, and his record in reputable organizations during that same time frame is a miserable 1-8.
These days, Pulver has been bouncing between flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight, but when you've already torched your legacy, what's the point in making your body take the toll?
"Ken Shamrock was in a beef with us over his contract. We thought he retired, he was claiming he didn't and still had one fight. And my attitude was, I'd rather pay Ken Shamrock to not fight. I'd rather pay him to not fight and just say, "Stay home, Ken." Ken is way past his prime; it gets to the point where it's dangerous for that guy to still be fighting."
Although the Lion's Den fighter has no fights scheduled and been out of action since late 2010, Shamrock has yet to announce his retirement. There is little question that a bout with Tank Abbott is still on his mind, and if it comes to fruition, this former tough guy could end up taking tremendous damage to more than just his legacy.
Joe Warren has tremendous wrestling skills, and he utilized them to earn the Bellator bantamweight championship only seven fights into his professional career.
At 35 years old, Warren would have a few more fights left in him if he could avoid damage. However, in most fights that the Team Quest grappler partakes, he seems to absorb quite a bit of punishment before all is said and done.
What's most telling is that Warren's last two fights saw him eat back-to-back knockouts that can best be described as disgusting.
Originally, Kid Yamamoto was one of the best lightweight's alive. Accumulating a record of 15-1-1, Yamamoto decided to drop to bantamweight shortly after winning the HERO's 2005 lightweight grand prix.
The new weight class seemed to fit the striker who had a KO win rate of 70 percent, as he defeated impressive contenders Bibiano Fernandes and Rani Yahya to establish himself as a threat in his new home.
A knee injury led to a 15-month layoff for Yamamoto, and he did not fare so well once he returned in 2009. Fighting six times in that period, the Japanese star has gone 1-5, with a miserable 0-3 record since joining the UFC.
It's clear that the MMA world has passed Kid by, and at 35 years old, it's time that he hangs up the gloves.
All of a sudden, Forrest Griffin's body is no longer producing enough testosterone to function, and he needs testosterone replacement therapy in order to compete. Is that what we are supposed to believe?
The former champion battled Tito Ortiz earlier this month and was unimpressive to say the least. With terrible cardio and striking that wasn't getting off like he wanted, it was one of the worst performances in Griffin's career.
If the TUF winner used TRT in his last fight, I wonder how pathetic his performance at UFC 148 would have been without it. After all, Michael Bisping has already done a great job of summing up my feelings on the matter.
"If you need TRT, you're in the wrong sport."
I'm gonna catch a lot of flack for this one, but hear me out before throwing your monitor into the wall.
Anderson Silva has absolutely nothing left to prove. He has set records for wins, title defenses, and after winning a knockout of the night bonus at UFC 148, Silva recorded his 10th fight night bonus to tie the record of Chris Lytle.
The only man to ever truly test The Spider was Chael Sonnen, and now Silva has finished him twice. Who is left to beat?
Many feel that Chris Weidman still needs a win over a Belfort, Bisping or Sonnen in order to be ready. Brian Stann and Tim Boetsch are fringe members of the top 10 and would be immediately outclassed by the champion.
Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold is staring him in the face, and it's a fight that Silva wants, but UFC President Dana White has already shot down that idea.
Does Silva really need to wait on Michael Bisping to win a fight in order to have a challenger who is worth a damn?
No. He doesn't.
At this point, the division is cleared out and the champion is 37 years old. Retire with the belt, and guarantee your status as the greatest fighter who ever lived.