Just like Jay-Z said: get out while you are on top. There have been any number of champions in any number of sports that have ruled their respective areas of expertise with an iron hand. To quote a line from the movie "Pumping Iron", Arnold Shwarzennegger stated "The wolf on top of the mountain might not be hungry, but when he wants the food, it's there." The unfortunate thing about being on the top is that there is only one direction you can go.
The following are the top 10 former champions who (whether we hate to see them go, or love to watch them leave) should consider stepping away from the glory of pugilism as a profession.
10. Lyoto Machida-(Hate) Now, why would a guy who is 16-1 in his MMA career, not to mention being the most recent "former" UFC light heavy weight champ want to call it quits? Because his mystique is gone. Lyoto's style of fighting confounded opponent after opponent...Until he ran into Shogun Rua. Shogun showed not once, but twice, the way to defeat Machida's unorthodox style. Machida's own father has even encouraged him to call it quits, but Lyoto believes he can be a champion again. Rumors speculate that he will face Quinton Jackson at UFC 123.
9. Andrei Arlovski-(Love) 5-5 in his last 10 fights. Once heralded as the future of heavy weight fighters, Arlovski voluntarily stepped away from the UFC. After signing with Affliction, Arlovski gained 2 stoppage victories over Ben Rothwell and "Big Country" Roy Nelson. Currently, however, he is on a three fight losing streak: a decision loss to Bigfoot Silva, a Blitzkrieg loss to Brett Rogers, and a stunning knockout from Fedor the left him "face down, ass up".
8. Mirko "Crocop" Filopivic-(Love) 3-3 in the UFC. The days of "right leg hospital, left leg cemetery" seem to be long behind him. Since the stunning knock out loss to Gaberiel Gonzaga, Crocop has lacked the predatory senses that saw him wreak havoc and win a title in Pride. Today's fighters have learned that, under pressure, Crocop can be controlled.
7.Antonio "Minotauro" Noguiera (Love) 7-3 in his last 10, 3-2 in the UFC. Noguiera can still be considered a handful for any fighter of any division, as proven by his victory over Randy Couture. Unfortunately, he is 1-2 in his last 3, with both losses coming by (t)ko. I feel that this a result of all the monsterous battles he has been in over the years. At 34 years old, he looks and moves like a 50 year old that has seen 10 miles of bad road. For his own health and well being, it's time to call it quits.
6.Royce Gracie (Love/Hate) One of the pioneers of the sport, and an original inductee into the UFC hall of fame, Gracie (and his family) are the reason why we have the UFC. That being said, Gracie has fought 8 times in the last 15 years, going 3-2-3. His last fight, where he lost to Matt Hughes at UFC 60, came under rumors that his school was going bankrupt. Royce, thank you for all you have done, but the game has passed you by.
5.Tim Sylvia (HATE) 4-4 in last 8 fights. Let's be honest about it; I just don't like the way this guy looks. Don't ask me why. I also feel that he is over rated, and uses size instead of over all skill. Sylvia has progessively found himself in smaller and smaller productions. To add insult to injury, I'd like to remind everyone of the blob of the man he was as he was stopped in :48 by an aging Ray Mercer. Granted, he just won PWP's heavy weight title, but compared to where he has been? It's like winning a gold medal in the Special Olympics: Congratulations; you're still retarded.
4.Tito Ortiz (Love/Hate) 2-3-1 in the last 4 years. While Tito has proven himself a spectacular and caring coach, the fact of the matter is that he hasn't beaten anyone not named Ken Shamrock since 2006. Furthermore, he has had nothing to offer in any of his fights except excuses (recall his most recent loss against Forrest griffen where he claimed his skull was cracked open before the fight). Like Royce Gracie, the game has passed you by.
3.Chuck Liddell-(Love) 1-5 in his last 6, with 4 coming by knockout. Who doesn't love the Iceman? For many years, he was (and still is) the most recognizable face in the sport. Unfortunately, not everyone is Randy Couture, and as his age has advanced, Chuck's chin has declined. Many say that he has developed "flash knockout syndrome". Dana recently guaranteed that Chuck would not fight in the UFC again, yet rumor says he will face Tim Boetch at UFC 123. While I would love to see him go out with a win, my heart has no wish to see another saddening knockout.
2. Jens Pulver-(Love)- 2-8 in his last 10, with 6 losses coming by stoppage. Things change for a man as he begins to start a family. Sometimes, that angry and aggresive edge begins to go away, and there is nothing wrong with that. The original UFC light weight champ, Jens has dropped fights to progesively easier opponents. "Lil' Evil" has become Jens Pulver, a guy that has matured away from fighting and become a regular person. While fighting may be all he knows, it's time to consider using his experience in another avenue.
1. Ken Shamrock-(Love/Hate) 2-8 in his last 10 fights (2-9 if you count his recent court loss to the UFC). The world's most dangerous man, Ken, like Royce Gracie, is a pioneer of the sport, and rightfully deserves his spot in the UFC hall of fame. Unfortunately, like Pulver, he has found himself losing in smaller and smaller shows. Along the way, he has been caught up in scandals involving performance enhancing substances, further tarnishing his legacy. Once again, like Royce, thank you for all that you have done, but the sport has passed you by.