With the new decade now finally in full swing, it does look as though some of our favourite fighters’ careers will be winding down before the year 2020 is through.
And while it’s not absolutely certain that even some of these athletes will hang up their gloves for good, here are seven fighters who would not surprise us in the slightest if they decided to make the call between now and January of 2021.
Kicking things off, we have one of the most universally-loved fighters to make the walk – the seemingly evergreen Frankie Edgar.
It’s a shame that The Answer’s plan to move to the bantamweight division was in some ways stifled by his insistence on filling in for the injured Brian Ortega to face Chan Sung Jung at UFC Busan.
Of course, Frankie’s desire to compete is one of the main things that has seen him carve out his reputation over the years but now, at the grand old age of 38, there does appear to be a chance that this year could stand as the former lightweight champion’s last in the sport.
Out of all of the names listed here, I feel comfortable in predicting that the legendary former two-weight world champion will make his final walk to the octagon before 2020 is out.
Though originally set on retiring from MMA before his 40th birthday last March, it now appears as though DC will be fighting well into his 41st year given that his seemingly inevitable trilogy bout with rival Stipe Miocic is being looked at for this summer.
And who knows, if Cormier can best the champ once more, would it be fair to say that a third and final matchup against Jon Jones would be out of the question? At this point in his career, I feel as though DC will want that fight – try as he might to convince us otherwise.
In an ideal world, the former Olympian will fight twice this year but no matter how it plays out, seeing him continue his career past 2020 is pretty unlikely.
Though recently tied down to a new deal with the promotion – the initial fallout from Faber’s explosive return to the sport was quickly dampened after he was thoroughly outclassed by the rising talent Petr Yan late last year.
Tough to no end and still no doubt a tricky matchup for anyone at 135lbs, there is absolutely no denying that the game has passed by this former WEC champion to a certain extent.
And while I would imagine that he will fight at least once this year, unless he can pull off the type of victory that would re-light his championship aspirations, do not be surprised if Faber once again bows out and brings his exemplary career to a halt.
A long shot perhaps, but even with his reputation as one of the gamest fighters of all-time as a given, someday this cowboy is going to ride off into the sunset.
After standing up the power of Conor McGregor for all of 40 seconds at UFC 246 in a fight that stood as the biggest of his career to date, even the famously resilient Cerrone will be wondering exactly what the future holds for him.
We’ve seen Cowboy manufacture some extraordinary career comebacks over the course of his decade-plus run in the top flight. The question, at present, surrounds the veteran’s place in the sport and where he sees himself going.
Whether 2020 will stand as Cerrone’s final year is anyone’s guess but considering his years of service, who could blame him for calling time on his legendary career?
Romero, in some people’s eyes, should have already been considered the undisputed middleweight champion of the world following his razor-thin decision loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC 225.
Indeed, the fight was a classic but to those who scored the five rounds upon rewatching it, it became pretty clear that the contest should have been – at the very least – scored as a draw.
Now, with a title showdown against reigning champion Israel Adesanya on his plate, Romero will have the opportunity to in some ways right the wrongs that transpired back in June of 2018.
At 42 and with the wear and tear of a life spent in fierce competition, this seemingly evergreen Cuban will surely see his miles catch up with him in the near future – leaving his long-term aspirations as a mixed martial artist in a state of doubt.
Despite his 1-4 record in the last five years, it can’t really be said that we’ve seen an ugly decline from this legendary former middleweight king.
Sure, the reflexes and killer instinct that defined his prime years have since deteriorated, but even in his recent losses, Silva has shown himself to be more than capable of hanging in there with the best of the best.
That being said, Anderson’s 45th birthday is fast approaching and given the manner in which his body simply gave out last time against Jared Cannonier – I think it’s fair to say that the Brazilian’s final outing is fast approaching.
Though successful in defeating Raquel Pennington in the UFC 246 co-main event, Holm’s chances of earning another shot at UFC gold have been growing slimmer with each failed attempt at recapturing her status as champion.
Despite her status as one of the driving figures behind women’s MMA, Holm’s post-Rousey run has well and truly failed to live up to the levels of expectation that came after her stunning destruction of one of the biggest stars in the sport’s history.
At 38, she unfortunately finds herself in the role of ‘gatekeeper’ to the women’s bantamweight title – with the skill disparity between her and the divisional elite quite apparent at this point.