Over the last few years, we've seen some of our favorite UFC fighters decline inside the Octagon or retire completely. Less than three years ago, in December 2010, it was Chuck Liddell who made his retirement official.
For many fans, it appeared Liddell was going to continue fighting until he was yanked out of the cage by UFC President Dana White. Although perception from some of White's statements backed up this thought, Liddell didn't need the boss to tell him his career was over. Liddell said the following at a recent fan Q&A session in Brazil:
I talked to my family, my coaches, and then I went to Dana. I talked to Dana. Dana and I actually went to dinner, and he thought I was going to ask him to fight again. I came to dinner, and I said, "You know what? I'm done." He was relieved.
The UFC Hall of Famer amassed a professional record of 20-3 before being knocked out in four of his final six fights.
Going into his final fight with Rich Franklin, there were some rumblings that Liddell was going to go back to his roots and try to project a more well-rounded game against Franklin. He did just that and looked good against "Ace," until the last 10 seconds of the fight.
Much like Liddell fared against Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua, "The Ice Man" was hit on the chin and collapsed in a heap onto the Octagon canvas. Even the biggest Liddell fans knew that this should spell the end to an iconic career.
Although Liddell knew he had to retire, that didn't mean it wasn't something he went back and forth with.
"I love fighting, and I didn't want to stop, but it was the right decision at the time between my coaches and my family."
If there is one thing Liddell fans can never get enough of, it's reliving the highlights of him putting a beating on Tito Ortiz. Judging by Liddell's comments, Ortiz would be about the only thing to lure him back into another fight.
I'd always like to hit Tito. "That would always be fun, so that's a possibility, but I don't think that's going to happen. I think I made the right decision in retiring. Unless something changes, I'll stay retired.
While Liddell does drop comments every now and then about getting one more fight against his rival, I think it's safe to say that the majority of fans would rather Liddell stay behind the scenes and not risk having a loss to Ortiz at the end of his fighting resumé.
Looking back on Liddell's last five losses, it is easy to say he should have retired a bit sooner, but nobody, especially fans and those in the media, should tell a fighter when it is time to hang it up.
Joe Chacon is a contributor to Bleacher Report and can be followed on Twitter @JoeChacon.