This comes as a bit of a shock.
Ricardo Almeida announced his retirement from mixed martial arts on his Facebook page. The 34-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt walked away from the sport coming off a unanimous decision loss to Mike Pyle at UFC 128.
“After much deliberation since my fight at UFC 128 I have decided to step away from the sport as a fighter. I will continue to fully support the UFC as a coach and of course as a big fan. I would like to thank [UFC CEO] Lorenzo Fertitta and [UFC President] Dana White for their leadership and vision which brought the sport to new heights. I would also like to thank [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva for giving me the opportunity to compete among the best martial artists in the world.
Back in 2008 I decided to return to MMA. Since then I have had the privilege of fighting eight times in the UFC. As a competitor I can think of no bigger thrill than to stand in the center of the octagon with my hands raised. During these almost four years it has been a personal struggle to find balance between my fighting career, caring for my son who was diagnosed with autism soon after I signed a six-fight deal with the UFC, teaching at my growing Jiu-Jitsu Academy and the family duties we all have.
MMA is a great sport but also physically and mentally unforgiving. It is a dangerous task to step in the octagon, [especially] if your focus is not at 100 [percent].”
Almeida leaves with a respecatable 13-5 record (5-3 in the UFC) with notable wins over Nate Marquardt, Kazuo Misaki, Matt Horwich, and Kendall Grove.