When Do MMA Fighters in the UFC Retire?

What Age Do UFC Fighters Retire? (Oldest Fighters Included!)

The issue of the retirement of professional UFC fighters is a very hot topic.

UFC fighters tend to prolong their careers past their due dates, which is a very risky thing to do.

Usually, most MMA fighters in the UFC retire somewhere between 35 and 40 years of age.

But, as White himself said – sometimes it’s just too hard to quit. Today’s topic is related to the question of what age do UFC fighters retire, as I am going to discuss the retirement of UFC fighters and speak about some of the oldest fighters out there.

Why Do Sometimes MMA Fighters Retire Late?

People do things for different reasons. That is a fact that is not just related to sports, but also a variety of other aspects of life.

In the UFC, fighters usually postpone their retirement, although a lot of them should do it sooner, rather than later. But why do they do it?

There is no single answer to this question because a lot of fighters do it for different reasons.

I have to state here that the usual age of retirement, based on the fighter and the division, should be somewhere between 35 and 40 years of age.

That is, statistically speaking, the age when UFC’s pros start showing signs of aging and cannot keep up with their much younger competition.

But still, a lot of them continue, some during the said period, some even after it.

The reasons are varied and include money (UFC fights are pretty lucrative and some fighters use it as a very beneficial source of income), adrenaline and reputation (if they win, they’re on a roll and cannot quit at that moment, and if they lose, they can’t go out like that). 

However, experts and physicians agree that UFC fighters should retire too early, rather than too late.

UFC fights are usually pretty savage and the nature of the shots in MMA, in general, is very risky for the human body.

The injuries might not be visible immediately, but they can have a lasting effect on the fighter.

That is the chief reason why UFC fighters should retire earlier than planned because they might have to face more problems later on in their lives. 

But, fighting in the UFC, and starting with MMA are not the same things.

50 years of age might be too old for the UFC, but it isn’t if you want to start doing MMA casually.

If you are asking yourself “what age is too old to start with MMA?” be sure to take a look at the article I wrote.

Before I end this article, I’ll bring you two tables. One will contain the names of the oldest fighters in UFC’s, histories, while the other will deal with the oldest champions in UFC history.

Oldest Fighters in the UFC History

UFC fights are not held on a daily basis and they are rare compared to some other sports. I’ve already stated that the optimal retirement age for a UFC fighter is between 35 and 40 years of age.

But are these ages really respected, or do fighters keep pushing their limits? They keep pushing and here is a list of most enduring fighters in the UFC:

#FighterNationalityCareerAge while in the UFC
1Randy CoutureUnited States1997 – 2011 45
2Anderson SilvaBrazil1997 – present 45
3Maurice SmithUnited States1980 – 2013 52
4Shane CarwinUnited States2005 – 2013 45
5Pat MiletichUnited States1995 – 2008 40
6Bas RuttenNetherlands / United States1993 – 2006 41
7Sean SherkUnited States1999 – 2010 40

It was somewhat difficult to locate completely precise information, which is why I immediately want to apologize for anything I’ve missed during the creation of this article.

Also, it might be of interest to you to take a look at my list of best MMA fighters who started training late.

Oldest Champions in the UFC History

Fighting is one thing, but training and working on yourself is another one completely. Winning and competitiveness come together, but they naturally start declining as the years go by.

This is why I am going to present to you the oldest winners, the best of the best, of UFC’s championship bouts:

#FighterNationalityCareerAge when champion
1Randy CoutureUnited States1997 – 2011 45
2Anderson SilvaBrazil1997 – present 38
3Chuck LiddellUnited States1998 – 2018 37
4Murilo BustamanteBrazil1991 – 2012 36
5Maurice SmithUnited States1980 – 2013 36
6Shane CarwinUnited States2005 – 2013 35
7Pat MiletichUnited States1995 – 2008 35
8Bas RuttenNetherlands / United States1993 – 2006 34
9Sean SherkUnited States1999 – 2010 34
10Evan TannerUnited States1997 – 200834
Source: Wikipedia

And that’s it for today. I hope this article has been helpful to you and that you will follow us for more of the same.

If you have more questions about the UFC, check out my beginner’s guide to the UFC where you will probably find the answer!