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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
When fighters near the end of their careers, a very difficult decision ends up facing them after each and every fight: when do you walk away? When is the right time to retire? Some fighters are forced out after years of punishment, some are cut short by injuries in and out of the cage. Some get to walk out on their own terms, but all too often it seems fighters stick around past when they should be competing.
That's something that UFC President Dana White doesn't like to see. He was extremely vocal near the end of Chuck Liddell's run that the former Champ should hang up the gloves, as he didn't like the damage he had taken down the stretch. He's said the same regarding Wanderlei Silva in the past. Now, he's added two more names to the list of fighters he thinks should be done: Matt Hughes and Forrest Griffin.
"Hughes is one of these guys that, I absolutely, positively want Matt Hughes to retire," White on said after Thursday's pre-UFC on Fox 4 press conference (via MMAJunkie.com. "What else is there to accomplish? The guy's done everything. He's been a staple in this organization for a long time. He's been f***ing awesome. There's nothing left to prove."
Hughes hasn't been in the cage since September of 2011, where he was knocked out by Josh Koscheck. That came ten months after getting knocked out cold by B.J. Penn in their third bout against one another. He hasn't made an official decision to come back or stay away, but White believes Hughes has nothing left to accomplish in the sport.
"It's so hard for these guys to say 'I'm retired.' It's so hard," White said. "The same thing with Chuck, I'm going through it with Matt."
He feels the same way about Griffin, even though the former Champion and Ultimate Fighter winner just picked up a win over Tito Ortiz last month. For White, he doesn't think there's much point to Griffin continuing to get back into the cage.
"I would like Forrest to retire," White said. "There's nothing left for Forrest to prove, either. He won 'The Ultimate Fighter,' he's had an amazing career, he won the title when everyone thought he couldn't, he's made (expletive) loads of money, he's got a beautiful wife, he's got a baby. If you don't want to be a world champion and you're not in the mix, like I call it, why? What's the point?"
"I get it – it's hard to walk away from walking into the arena with the big crowds and all the (expletive)," White continued. "But there's a point in time when it's like, 'You've done your thing, man. You've had an amazing career, you've done great things – there's nothing left to prove.'
"[I've told him]. He doesn't like hearing it. He doesn't want to hear me."
Penick's Analysis: Hughes is a lot more likely to walk away than Griffin. Even though he's allegedly fighting White about walking away, he's said in the past that he'd like to be with his family more, and that he's been urged by them to retire in recent years as well. Griffin, meanwhile, is still only 33 years old. He's not likely to fight for a title again, but I'm sure he believes he's got some money fights still to be had. That said, he's been very strange in recent years in his approach to his fights, and even though White is claiming issues from him on this front, it wouldn't be surprising if he was open to the idea of walking away now. If I had to bet, though, I'd put my money on seeing Griffin at least once more. Hughes may be done, but Griffin will almost assuredly be back for one or more fights.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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