Brock Lesnar and 8 Other MMA Careers That May End in the Next Year

Tim DaveyContributor IIIAugust 11, 2011

Brock Lesnar and 8 Other MMA Careers That May End in the Next Year

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    There are a number of aging legends competing in MMA today that are entering, or well into, the twilight of their careers.

    These aging warriors have entertained us for years and whilst we all love watching them compete, the time must come for all of them to walk away from the sport they love.

    This slideshow will detail which fighters are on the brink of retirement and rate their chances of fighting on beyond the next 12 months. 

    Enjoy!

Tito Ortiz

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    “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” saved his career with an upset win over Ryan Bader at UFC 132 and immediately stepped back into the cage on short notice to face No. 1 contender Rashad Evans at UFC 133.

    Despite a TKO loss, Ortiz has injected new life into his flagging career and shored up his short term future in the UFC. 

    However, at 36 years of age, Tito doesn’t have long left in the fight game. If he is to suffer a big loss in his next fight, then it may cause him to reconsider continuing his celebrated career.

    Given that he surely won’t challenge for the light heavyweight title again, it is entirely possible that he will pull the pin sometime in the next year.

     

    Retire in the next 12 months: 35 percent

Matt Hughes

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    Matt Hughes has one of MMA’s most notable careers to date. Five straight defences of the welterweight title, victory over pioneers Royce and Renzo Gracie and a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame are just a few of his accomplishments inside the cage.

    However, Hughes skills seem to be fading with age. He has lost four of his last eight, though those losses have been to top level opposition. He will be 38 by the year's end with nothing more to accomplish in the sport.

    If Hughes loses his upcoming fight with Diego Sanchez then it is unlikely he will compete again. Even if he wins, he may decide enough is enough and go out with his hand raised.

     

    Retire in the next 12 months: 55 percent

Mirko Cro Cop

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    Mirko Cro Cop is one of the most destructive strikers to ever compete in the sport. The 2006 PRIDE open weight grand prix champion made a name for himself in Japan destroying top level competition with his arsenal of kicks.

    Despite being considered a top contender when he joined the UFC, the Croatian largely failed to live up to expectations.

    His 4-5 UFC record is not a true reflection of his talent and rather an indication he had peaked earlier in his career. He will be 37 when he faces Roy Nelson at UFC 137 and a loss will surely spell the end of his career.

     

    Retire in the next 12 months: 85 percent

Rich Franklin

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    The UFC’s original nice guy, former middleweight champion Rich Franklin has had a stellar career in the Octagon. Despite making his name at 185 pounds, he stepped up to 205 chasing another title after his crushing losses to Anderson Silva.

    “Ace” has had mixed results at light heavyweight, defeating Matt Hamill and Chuck Liddell whilst losing to Dan Henderson and Forrest Griffin.  

    The 36-year-old hasn’t been able to break into the top echelon of the contender-packed weight class and his title chances are all but over.

    Franklin will most likely serve as a gatekeeper for the remainder of his career, and given his age, that may not be overly long.

     

    Retire in the next 12 months: 55 percent

Wanderlei Silva

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    Wanderlei Silva is without a doubt one of the most beloved champions in MMA history. His domination of the PRIDE middleweight division was legendary, as was his devastating knockout power.

    Wanderlei’s second stint in the UFC has not lived up to expectations. He has gone 2-4 in the organisation since 2007 and has struggled to recreate the violence of his PRIDE days.

    Silva’s recent 27 second KO loss to Chris Leben may prove to be the beginning of the end for the legend. Dana White is of the opinion that Silva may be done in the UFC, but it is likely he will get one more fight to try and save his career.

    “The Axe Murderer” is 35 and achieved plenty in his career. Even if he is given the green light to fight again, he may choose to hang the gloves up for good. 

     

    Retire in the next 12 months: 60 percent

Brock Lesnar

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    The biggest draw in the UFC is rumoured to be back in action either late 2011 or early 2012. There’s no doubt that his ability to sell pay-per-views will have him close to another title shot, but whether he can achieve this is doubtful.

    Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez have exposed Lesnar’s questionable standup and laid out the blueprint for beating the once indestructible former champion.

    Brock has gone on the record as saying he has no interest in competing in MMA unless he is a top contender. Given his weak standup, inevitable cage rust and age (34), it’s hard to see Lesnar winning the heavyweight title again.

    If Lesnar loses his comeback bout then it is quite likely that he will retire from MMA, ending one of the sport's shortest and most eventful careers to date.  

     

    Retire in the next 12 months: 50 percent

Fedor Emelianenko

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    Considered by many to be the pound-for-pound greatest of all time, “The Last Emperor” is currently going through the only down patch of his career. Three straight losses, after such a long unbeaten run, is always going to bring about speculation over the great man's future.

    Fedor himself hinted at retirement after his loss to Antonio Silva, and his battering at the hands of Dan Henderson surely did little to convince him otherwise.

    Given that he has ruled out a cut to 205, it is hard to see Fedor being competitive again against the modern day monsters of the heavyweight division.

    A move to the UFC is now surely off the table for good, so what else is left for Fedor to achieve?

     

    Retire in the next 12 months: 90 percent

Dan Henderson

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    Despite being the oldest fighter on this list at 40, Dan Henderson has shown the most in the cage recently.

    The Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion recently knocked out heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko in impressive fashion and has hinted at a return to the UFC.

    Henderson has been impressive enough for there to be speculation of a super-fight with Jon Jones. Given the list of contenders the UFC has at 205, this is unlikely but shows just how high a level is competing at.

    The only reason Henderson is included on this list is his age. Whilst he may pull the pin soon, he is just as likely to return to the UFC and fight late into his 40s.

     

    Retire in the next 12 months: 10 percent

Antonio "Minotauro" Nogueira

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    Brazilian heavyweight legend Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira has been held back more by injury than bad performances in recent times.

    Injury has kept him inactive since February 2010, when he was knocked out by current champion Cain Velasquez.

    “Big Nog” is seen as past his prime, but this perception is largely due to his inability to get his body right. If he can do that and win against Brendan Schaub at UFC 134, he will probably be matched up with Frank Mir in a title eliminator. From there anything can happen.

    A loss in front of his home crowd will most likely spell the end of his great career. He won’t be thefavourite, but you cannot count out a warrior like Minotauro.

     

    Retire in next 12 months: 20 percent if he beats Schaub, 90 percent if he loses