November 11, 2017

UFC Fight Night 120 Could Spell the End of Several Veterans' Octagon Careers

By Adam Martin

The UFC Fight Night 120 card, which goes down this Saturday in Norfolk, Virginia, is one of the better TV cards of the year, one that features a number of popular veterans in a number of intriguing fights. It's also possible that a number of these fighters may be competing for the final time inside the Octagon.

In the co-main event, welterweight brawler Matt Brown already announced that his bout against Diego Sanchez will be the final bout of his long and underrated UFC career. Brown, who is now 36, has been in the UFC since 2008 when he starred on The Ultimate Fighter 7. He's had 23 fights in the UFC up to this point, going 13-10, and he's taken a ton of damage in those fights. While he once had an iron chin, Brown has now lost five of his last six fights and has been finished in his last three, including knockout losses in his last two outings. Credit to Brown for knowing when to hang them up, and this fight against Sanchez should provide a fitting end to his exciting, violent MMA career.

At the same time, Sanchez should also consider hanging them up. A star on The Ultimate Fighter 1, Sanchez has competed in the UFC since 2005, going 16-10 overall in the Octagon. Even though he's only 35, Sanchez is a lot older in fight years and has taken a ton of damage in his decade-plus in the Octagon. Like Brown, Sanchez once had an iron chin, but he's now been knocked out brutally in two of his last three fights, and it seems like the end is near. His decision to continue fighting will depend on how the fight with Brown goes, but if he gets knocked out again, his family and friends should have a long talk with him.

Andrei Arlovski is another vet who could be fighting for the last time inside the Octagon. A former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Arlovski's return to the UFC a few years ago started off great with four straight wins, but he's since lost five fights in a row and has been finished in four of them. Arlovski has never had a strong chin, and the knockout losses he's been suffering lately have been brutal and quicker than ever. Should he lose his sixth-straight fight to Junior Albini, especially if it's by knockout, then someone will need to have "the talk" with him. At 38, he doesn't have much time left.

The same goes for Nate Marquardt. Once one of the most feared middleweights in the world, Marquardt's return to the Octagon has not gone well, as he's racked up a poor 3-7 record with four knockout defeats since 2013. At 38, he can't have many fights left in his career, and his matchup against Cezar Ferreira could prove to be a dangerous one.

Additionally, veterans Joe Lauzon and Clay Guida are two other guys who have managed to hang on to spots on the roster for a long time, but all the damage has been adding up, and both men have been knocked out recently after going years without getting finished. These two fighters still likely have some good fights left in them, but at the same time, both men should be transitioning to their next careers.

It's unfortunate when athletes get old and can no longer compete with the best, but it's a fact of life in sports. Knowing when to walk away takes a lot of guts, sometimes more than sticking around too long. You have to commend Brown for realizing his time is up; the other aging vets on the card should look to what Brown is doing and consider their own situations so that they can make the best possible decisions for their careers. UFC fans love watching all of the vets mentioned in this piece fighting, but at the same time, a true fan would respect when a fighter knows when it's time to hang them up. We'll see what happens, but it's likely you will see the end of several longtime veterans today in Norfolk.

No comments:

Post a Comment

*** Anonymous comments will NOT be published. ***

Use the "Name/URL" option.