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How Many Fighters Across Boxing & MMA Have Walked Away On Top?

It isn’t too often we see the greatest fighters in the world, or the greatest fighters of all-time, walk away from their respective sport on top.

Generally speaking, they win a championship, or multiple championships, defend them a number of times, securing legendary status in doing so, then they stick around too long, past their prime years, only to fall from grace.

Often times, they go out on a number of losses, and more often than not, they just aren’t the same after losing that first time.

Chael Sonnen regularly states there are only two fighters that have ever gone out on top; Lennox Lewis and Georges St-Pierre. But, that’s not quite true, there are a few others.

Notice we used the word few, there really aren’t many.

So, here they are.

Here is our list of all the fighters in both mixed martial arts and boxing that have walked away on top:

8. Khabib Nurmagomedov

‘The Eagle’ came to the UFC back in 2012 with a perfect record of 16-0, though the competition he faced prior wasn’t exactly elite.

Nonetheless, he still achieved greatness against the very best fighters in the world whilst retiring with an undefeated record of 29-0. Though prolonged, consistent injuries nearly forced him into retirement at an early age, his father encouraged him to make his return no matter how long he spent away from the cage.

Nurmagomedov absolutely mauled Rafael dos Anjos in 2014 for instance, but then sat out for two years battling injuries.

Dos Anjos went on to win the UFC lightweight championship in his absence, which almost certainly left him with a bitter taste in his mouth. However, another year of injuries following his return, then three wins (two over top contenders) would follow, before he’d fight for the lightweight title himself.

Only he didn’t fight his original opponent, interim champion Tony Ferguson, for the vacant championship.

Instead, he faced Al Iaquinta, who was initially slated against Paul Felder that night, and on just one days notice.

Nurmagomedov of course won the bout and claimed the championship, but many were questioning the legitimacy of it. Even though we all knew he was championship caliber, even though he was still undefeated, had to sit out all that time. Hell, most had predicted he’d find himself in a title fight well before that.

But, he defeated a talent ranked at no. 11 to win the title.

However, Nurmagomedov silenced any and every doubter in each of his title defenses, as he finished former Cage Warriors, and UFC featherweight & lightweight champion Conor McGregor, interim UFC lightweight champion Dustin Poirier, and former WSOF, as well as interim UFC lightweight champion Justin Gaethje.

It’s too bad we never got to see Nurmagomedov face Tony Ferguson, it’s a true gem of a fight that got away from us on a number of occasions; when they were both top contenders working their way up, when Ferguson was interim champion, when Nurmagomedov was undisputed champion…

These two were scheduled to face one another five different times, thus the reason people believe the match up is cursed.

The last time they were matched up with one another, they were both on 12-fight win streaks, the longest in UFC history, and Ferguson was a former interim champion that never lost his belt. It’s so unfortunate.

Current UFC lightweight champion Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira would be a super interesting match up as well.

Though we were all left wanting more at the end, it is understandable why he left. Not to mention, he was only prepared to fight once more anyway; his fathers plan was to achieve the record of 30-0, and then retire.

Career Accomplishments:

Prior to MMA Career & Ranks

  • Russian Combat Sambo Championships gold medal (2009)
  • Two-time World Combat Sambo Championships gold medal (2009, 2010)
  • NAGA No-Gi Expert World Championships gold medal (2012)
  • NAGA No-Gi Expert World Championships gold medal (ADCC rules, 2012)
  • European Pankration Championships gold medal
  • International Master of Sport in Judo
  • International Master of Sport in Sambo
  • International Master of Sport in Pankration
  • International Master of Sport in Army Hand-to-Hand Combat
  • Black belt in Judo

Mixed Martial Arts

  • Pankration Atrium Cup 1 tournament champion
  • Tsumada Fighting Championship 3 tournament champion
  • UFC lightweight champion – three title defenses
  • Four-time UFC champion
  • UFC Hall-of-Famer
  • Longest UFC lightweight championship reign (1,077 days)
  • Tied for most title defenses in UFC lightweight history (3) – BJ Penn & Benson Henderson
  • Tied for most wins in UFC lightweight championship bouts (4) – BJ Penn & Benson Henderson
  • Most takedowns in a single UFC fight (21) – the most takedowns in a single fight prior was performed by Sean Sherk six years earlier, in which he secured 15 over Hermes Franca in his five-round title fight. Nurmagomedov secured six more takedowns in just a three round encounter against a four-time NAIA All-American. Not to mention, Sherk tested positive for steroids following that title victory. Nurmagomedov secured 21 of 27 attempts
  • Most submission victories in UFC lightweight championship bouts (3)
  • Most consecutive wins in UFC lightweight history (13)
  • Retired undefeated in 2020 with a record of 29-0 (8 knockout, 11 submission, 10 decision)

7. Henry Cejudo

henry cejudo

This is another one where every last one of us, whether we like him or not, were left wanting more.

‘The Messenger’, or ‘Triple-C’ is without a doubt one of the most special talents we’ve ever seen in the sport of mixed martial arts. Coming over to the UFC at just 6-0, Cejudo was already well known in the freestyle wrestling community, as he became the youngest American (19) to ever win the Olympics in that art.

Coming over with a record of 6-0, Cejudo quickly went 4-0 inside of just 11 months once signing with the UFC, before being matched up with flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. The champion dispatched of Cejudo in under three minutes, and he wasn’t undefeated anymore.

A split decision defeat to Joseph Benavidez, one of the best fighters ever to have never won a belt, would follow later that year, before Cejudo returned nine months later a completely changed fighter. He TKO’d fellow former title challenger Wilson Reis, before handily out-wrestling current Bellator bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis in his next two fights.

This awarded him another title shot against a longtime champion in Johnson, and he didn’t miss the opportunity this time. After the first round couldn’t have gone any worse, Cejudo was able to pull it together and grind the champion out en route to a split decision victory.

This was followed up by a title defense against then bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, before moving up to 135 lbs. Cejudo defeated former WSOF bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes in his 135 lb return, again, in a fight he couldn’t have had a worse first round in.

This was his second straight finish, something we weren’t used to seeing out of him, and he was now the UFC bantamweight champion. Not long after this Cejudo vacated his flyweight crown.

‘Triple-C’ then defended his bantamweight title against the 135 lb goat Dominick Cruz, before walking away with a record of 16-2. This was quite abrupt, and honestly, he got hated even more for it than he already was.

Cejudo stated that for his first title defense at 135 lbs, he wanted a tune up fight before defending against top contenders. This tune up fight initially saw multi-time WEC & UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo secure the spot, before he fell out with an injury and was replaced with Cruz.

But, it wasn’t a tune up fight. It appears he wanted an easy win to go out on, and Cruz, someone coming off a loss that hadn’t fought in nearly four years, was it. Hell, Aldo was on a two-fight skid at that time as well.

Nonetheless, he went out on a three-fight knockout streak, following his second round TKO over Cruz. The result was controversial, and so was the Dillashaw stoppage, but the record says he won both fights.

Cejudo also had a chance to avenge the only two defeats of his career. Had he stayed at 125 lbs for just one more title defense, he could’ve rematched Benavidez, who was indeed next in line for a shot.

Cejudo is however talking about a return to the cage to face bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling or featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, which could be very interesting.

Would you like to see him return?

Career Accomplishments:

Freestyle Wrestling

  • Wrestling World Cup bronze medal (2007)
  • Pan American Games gold medal (2007)
  • Three-time Pan American Championships gold medal (2006, 2007, 2008)
  • Two-time US Senior National Championships gold medal (2006, 2007)
  • US Senior National Championships silver medal (2008)
  • Junior World Championships silver medal (2006)
  • US World Team Trials silver medal (2006)
  • US World Team Trials gold medal (2007)
  • US Olympic Team Trials gold medal (2008)
  • Olympic gold medal (2008)
  • Henri Deglane Challenge silver medal (2011)
  • Sunkist Kids International Open gold medal (2011)

Mixed Martial Arts

  • WFF bantamweight champion
  • UFC flyweight champion – one defense
  • UFC bantamweight champion – one defense
  • Two-division UFC champion
  • Four-time UFC champion
  • Defeated 125 lb goat to claim title, defeated 135 lb goat to defend second title
  • 7th multi-division champion in UFC history
  • 4th simultaneous multi-division champion in UFC history
  • Avenged one of only two career defeats
  • Retired in 2020 with a record of 16-2 (8 knockout, 8 decision)

6. Jon Jones

‘Bones’ walked away from the light-heavyweight division back in February of 2020 as champion. Though he’s intended to return to the octagon as a heavyweight come summer or fall of 2022, that may or may not happen, thus the reason we had to include him on this list.

Jones was an unstoppable force for the longest time, first claiming gold at just 23 years of age against an absolute legend in Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. Jones was a massive underdog coming into this fight, but it quickly became one of the worst one-sided beatdowns in the sports history.

After winning the title, Jones defended against the likes of Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, and Vitor Belfort in his first four defenses, all of which are former UFC champions. He even submitted Machida and Belfort, both of which are BJJ black belts, and he did so whilst still a white belt himself.

The potential he had is still to this day merely unmatched, but it didn’t come without his faults.

Drunk driving arrests, positive cocaine tests, wrecking cars more than once, it appears the spotlight got to him. He was on top of the world from a very young age. In fact, he was widely considered the youngest world champion in MMA history.

Jose Aldo actually holds that claim though, or he did, until Christian Lee won the ONE lightweight championship in 2019 at just 20 years of age.

Nonetheless, Jones also failed a four different steroid tests, and his legacy has been tarnished a bit considering.

He isn’t quite the same fighter he once was at this point either. His second-to-last defense against Thiago Santos wasn’t at all impressive; Santos was injured badly from the very first round on, tearing all four ligaments in his left knee, and Jones did merely nothing to win that fight.

Jones was awarded the victory via split decision, but it wasn’t the same man we were used to watching.

Jones then returned to defend against Dominick Reyes, who most believe defeated him.

Reyes won the first three rounds of that fight, he won the first half of the fourth round, but ultimately lost it, as well as the fifth. Much like Jones’ first fight with Alexander Gustafsson.

Nonetheless, the man most believe should have dethroned Jones has since gone 0-2, being knocked out viciously in both encounters. What’s more, Santos has since gone 1-3.

But, that doesn’t exactly take away everything he’s done in the cage.

Technically, he’s never lost. His one official defeat comes via DQ in a fight he was dominating, and in all honesty, a fight that should’ve been stopped before he even had the chance to throw that illegal elbow.

Jones now sits with a record of 26-1 (1 NC), and we’re awaiting a word on his potential return.

Career Accomplishments:

Greco-Roman Wrestling

  • Union-Endicott High School state champion (2005)
  • NHSCA Senior All-American (2005)
  • Northeast Junior Greco-Roman Regional Championship gold medal (2004)
  • NJCAA All-American (2006)
  • NJCAA National Championships gold medal (2006)

Mixed Martial Arts

  • USKBA light-heavyweight champion
  • Interim UFC light-heavyweight champion
  • Two-time UFC light-heavyweight champion – eight defenses during first reign, three defenses during second reign
  • Most wins in UFC title fights (14)
  • 14-time UFC champion
  • Most wins in UFC light-heavyweight title fights (14)
  • Most UFC light-heavyweight title fights (15)
  • Most title defenses in UFC light-heavyweight history (11)
  • Most consecutive title defenses in UFC light-heavyweight history (8)
  • Most wins in UFC light-heavyweight history (20)
  • Most significant strikes landed in UFC light-heavyweight history (1,463)
  • Most total strikes landed in UFC light-heavyweight history (1,835)
  • Highest takedown defense in UFC light-heavyweight history (95%)
  • Tied for most successful title defenses in UFC history – Demetrious Johnson & Anderson Silva
  • Longest unbeaten streak in UFC history (18) – should be 22
  • Longest championship reign in UFC light-heavyweight history (1,501 days)
  • Two-time Fighter of the Year (2011, 2012)
  • Youngest UFC fighter to ever become champion (23 years, 242 days)
  • 26-1 (1 NC) professional mixed martial arts record (10 knockout, 6 submission, 10 decision) – only defeat coming via DQ, technically undefeated

5. Floyd Mayweather Jr

‘Money’ is one of, if not the most well known boxer of all-time, and many even believe him to be the greatest boxer of all-time.

Retiring with a perfect record of 50-0, Mayweather handily out-pointed the majority of his opponents later on in his career. Earlier on, he was more of a finisher, but after suffering a number of broken hands throughout his career, he turned into a defensive machine.

Whether he’s the greatest boxer to ever do it or not, that’s up for interpretation.

But, Mayweather is certainly the greatest defensive fighter of all-time, regardless of the sport.

Now, he did get cracked every once in a while, and he did win a couple close, even controversial decisions in his day.

He first became a world champion at age 21, when he won the WBC super-featherweight championship. After defending that title nearly ten times, he decided to move up to lightweight, where he won a couple more championships.

Fast forward a couple years and he accumulated some defenses of those belts as well, and he then moved up to the super-lightweight division where he won that WBC championship as well.

Mayweather also laid claim to the IBF & IBO welterweight championships, as well as WBC, Ring Magazine, also at welterweight. He has some light-middleweight titles, WBC, WBA, and Ring Magazine, before returning to welterweight for his final five bouts, which included four title defenses.

‘Money’ became a 26-time, five-division world champion before it was all said and done, which is just astounding.

He’s one of the very few names that was an undisputed champion in the world of boxing, and he’s the only boxer to ever retire with a perfect record that boasts at least 50 fights.

Mayweather is also the only fighter to have ever defeated Canelo Alvarez, who’s currently the WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF, & Ring Magazine super-middleweight champion with a record of 57-1-2.

Career Accomplishments:

Amateur Career

  • Three-time Golden Gloves Champion (1993, 1994, 1996 – three different weight divisions)
  • US National Championships gold medal (1995)
  • Olympic bronze medal (1996)
  • 84-8 amateur boxing record

Professional Career

  • Eight-time WBC featherweight champion
  • Four-time WBC lightweight champion
  • Four-time Ring Magazine lightweight champion
  • WBC super-lightweight champion
  • Two-time IBO welterweight champion
  • Two-time IBF welterweight champion
  • Six-time WBC welterweight champion
  • Six-time Ring Magazine welterweight champion
  • WBA light-middleweight champion
  • WBC light-middleweight champion
  • Ring Magazine light-middleweight champion
  • Four-time WBA welterweight champion
  • Five-division world champion
  • International Boxing Hall-of-Famer
  • Retired in 2017 undefeated with record of 50-0 (27 knockout, 23 decision)

4. Andre Ward

‘Son of God’ is about as special a technician as we’ve ever seen across any combat sport.

Like Floyd Mayweather Jr, he wasn’t the most exciting to some fans, but man, you cannot deny he was the absolute best in his day.

After winning the Olympic Games, Ward turned professional later that year in 2004.

Once he reached the record of 20-0, which took about five years, Ward fought for his first world championship, winning the WBA super-middleweight strap at 25 years of age.

A handful of title defenses would soon follow, before he would sit out nearly two years due to contract disputes.

He also sat out over a year in between his last two title defenses because of injuries.

Considering, Ward returned in 2015 with a TKO victory over Paul Smith, before winning his next bout in early 2016.

Next came an intercontinental title fight, which he also won, before he was finally put in another world championship bout. This world championship bout, like his last, was contested in the light-heavyweight division, and he was facing WBA, IBF, and WBO champion Sergey Kovalev.

This was a very dangerous opponent for him.

Kovalev was 30-0-1 coming into their encounter, and 26 of those wins came via knockout. He’s a brutally powerful and skilled talent, but Ward made beating him it look easy.

After out-pointing Kovalev to become a two-division world champion, Ward rematched Kovalev and put him away in round eight this time around.

Only after this, he’d walk away from the sport, as a competitor at least. He does do commentary work, which is incredibly insightful, but it’s too bad he didn’t want to continue fighting anymore.

Ward was really just getting started.

It’s hard to imagine how the remainder of his career would’ve gone had he stayed around. It’s certain he would’ve won more championships, but would he have remained undefeated? How many more divisions would he rule?

All we know for sure is that he was able to replicate the exact success as a professional that he did as an amateur by becoming a two-division world champion.

Those questions will forever go unanswered, as he’s now 38 years of age with no plan of a return on the horizon.

But, the fact remains that Andre Ward will go down as one of the best super-middleweights in boxing history.

Career Accomplishments:

Amateur Career

  • United States middleweight champion (2001)
  • United States light-heavyweight champion (2001)
  • Under 19 National Championships gold medal (2002)
  • Two-time US National Championships gold medal (2001, 2003)
  • Olympic gold medal (2004)
  • 115-5 amateur boxing record

Professional Career

  • Three-time WBO-NABO super-middleweight champion
  • Two-time WBC-NABF super-middleweight champion
  • Seven-time WBA super-middleweight champion
  • Three-time WBC super-middleweight champion
  • Three-time Ring Magazine super-middleweight champion
  • WBO International light-heavyweight champion
  • Two-time WBA light-heavyweight champion
  • Two-time IBF light-heavyweight champion
  • Two-time WBO light-heavyweight champion
  • Ring magazine light-heavyweight champion
  • Two-division world champion
  • International Boxing Hall-of-Famer
  • Retired undefeated in 2017 with a record of 32-0 (16 knockout, 16 decision)

3. Lennox Lewis

‘The Lion’ has widely been considered the greatest heavyweight boxer in history, and for a good reason.

A a result of winning the 1988 Olympics, Lewis turned professional shortly thereafter and quickly assumed a record of 25-0 in just five years.

At this point, he was a feared, heavy-handed heavyweight world champion.

Following his 25-0 run, it, and his title reign would be brought to an end courtesy of Oliver McCall, who TKO’d him early on in the second round.

This was followed up with two wins, before laying claim to another championship. Lewis then got his original crown back in a rematch with Oliver McCall, where he reclaimed his WBC title, before going on another run of defenses.

This time he made it to four-straight defenses before going to a draw with Evander Holyfield.

An immediate rematch would take place soon after, where Lewis defeated Holyfield via unanimous decision. With this win, he now also boasted four different heavyweight championships.

Lewis would then run into Hasim Rahman, who KO’d him in round four, before an immediate rematch took place and Lewis took his belts back via KO in round five.

What a pair of fights, and turn of events that was.

Lewis would retire soon after this, but not before two more title defenses came his way, as he first KO’d Mike Tyson in round eight, and then TKO’d Vitali Klitschko at the end of round six.

Lewis’ speed, power, timing, and shot selection was just too much for merely everyone he fought.

Yes, he was defeated twice throughout his career, calling it quits with a record of 41-2-1, but he’d avenged his only two defeats ever. The only two men to have defeated him, he knocked out in the rematch.

The only man he had a draw with, he also avenged.

There are three blemishes on his record overall, and he boasts wins over each of them.

Career Accomplishments:

Amateur Career

  • Junior World Championships gold medal (1983)
  • World Cup silver medal (1985)
  • Two-time North American Championships gold medal (1985, 1987)
  • Commonwealth Games gold medal (1986)
  • Pan American Games silver medal (1987)
  • Olympic gold medal (1988)
  • 85-9 amateur boxing record

Professional Career

  • Four-time European heavyweight champion
  • Three-time British heavyweight champion
  • Two-time Commonwealth heavyweight champion
  • 17-time WBC heavyweight champion
  • IBC heavyweight champion
  • WBA heavyweight champion
  • Six-time IBF heavyweight champion
  • Six-time IBO heavyweight champion
  • Two-time Ring Magazine heavyweight champion
  • Made it to 25-0 before losing for the first time
  • International Boxing Hall-of-Famer
  • Avenged only two defeats ever
  • Retired in 2003 with record of 41-2-1 (32 knockout, 7 decision, 2 disqualification)

2. Vitali Klitschko (twice)

walked away on top

‘Dr. Ironfist’ is the very last name on the resume of Lennox Lewis, but unlike Lewis, Klitschko didn’t retire following their fight.

Instead, he went on to become an absolute legend following that defeat.

First, we’ll get into what he did earlier on.

Klitschko, to our surprise, is actually not just a boxer. He began his combat sports career with boxing, yes, but also sport karate and kickboxing. He had considerable amounts of success in each sport too, and even became an ISKA (kickboxing) heavyweight champion, which is just remarkable.

The Ukrainian talent went 34-2 as a kickboxer, and also claimed a number of other championships in the sport.

Upon turning professional, Klitschko won his first 27 bouts, including three heavyweight championships, before losing for the first time.

He would rebound by winning and defending an intercontinental title over his next five fights, before challenging for another world championship, this time against Lennox Lewis.

As we know, he lost that fight, but would rebound later that year with a second-round stoppage over Kirk Johnson, who was 34-1 coming in, his only defeat coming via DQ.

Klitschko then won the WBC & Ring Magazine heavyweight championships and defended them a single time before walking away with a record of 35-2.

However, Klitschko felt he had unfinished business in the heavyweight division and came back four years later at age 37, where he to our surprise, reclaimed the WBC heavyweight championship.

Klitschko then defended his title a whopping nine times before once again retiring, now with a record of 45-2 at age 41. Unlike Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko was never given an opportunity to avenge either of his defeats.

Many fans didn’t appreciate Klitschko’s style, Vitali or his brother Wladimir’s, but you can’t deny their skills.

Wladimir also nearly left the sport on top, as he was 64-3 going into his fight, as a heavy favorite mind you, against Tyson Fury. After being out-pointed throughout the contest, he’d then drop a defeat to Anthony Joshua, a fight he nearly won on more than one occasion.

Unfortunate for him, he left the fight on a two-fight skid, after a 22-fight win streak (19 championship wins in a row).

Nonetheless, his slightly older brother Vitali, did go out on top.

Career Accomplishments:

Amateur Career

  • World Military Boxing Championships silver medal (1994)
  • Presidents Boxing Cup bronze medal (1994)
  • Military World Games gold medal (1995)
  • World Championships silver medal (1995)
  • 195-15 amateur boxing record

Professional Career

  • WBO Intercontinental heavyweight champion
  • Four-time European heavyweight champion
  • Three-time WBO heavyweight champion
  • Four-time WBA Intercontinental heavyweight champion
  • Two-time Ring Magazine heavyweight champion
  • 12-time WBC heavyweight champion
  • Made it to 27-0 before losing for the first time
  • International Boxing Hall-of-Famer
  • Retired in 2012 with a record of 45-2 (41 knockouts, 4 decision)

1. Georges St-Pierre (twice)

walked away on top

‘Rush’ is no. 1 on this list for a good reason, and he, like many others mentioned, left us wanting more.

St-Pierre came to the UFC with a record of 5-0 back in 2003, and had already defeated the likes of Ivan Menjivar, Thomas Denny, and UFC veteran Pete Spratt, all of which were much more experienced than himself.

Menjivar, the man he made his professional debut against, was 4-0; Denny had 19 fights at the time, and Spratt had 18, coming off a win over Robbie Lawler.

This saw him claim two different championships prior to joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Once arriving in the UFC, ‘GSP’ first defeated 10-2 Karo Parisyan, before TKO’ing Jay Heiron.

This awarded him a shot at then champion Matt Hughes, who submitted him with just one second left in the first round.

St-Pierre then won his next five-straight, capping off with victories over Sean Sherk and BJ Penn, before rematching, and defeating Hughes for the UFC welterweight championship.

He was then upset by Matt Serra in his first title defense, happening back in 2007, and he didn’t lose again after that.

‘GSP’ rebounded by defeating Josh Koscheck, before winning his trilogy bout with Hughes in an interim title fight.

Now that he was the interim champion, a rematch with Serra came about, who he handily finished this time around.

The rest is history, as he defended his championship a total of nine times before walking away from the sport in 2013.

St-Pierre was out of the limelight for some time, four years to be exact, much like Vitali Klitschko, before returning to capture another title. Only ‘GSP’ did it in another weight class, a division above at 185 lbs.

Michael Bisping was the champion at that point, and St-Pierre finished him off in round three to become a two-division world champion. This was his first real finish since recapturing the welterweight title back in 2008.

Of his nine title defenses, eight of those wins came via decision, with just one coming via TKO. That TKO was over BJ Penn in their rematch, and Penn’s corner stopped the fight after round four.

So really, it was his first finish since reclaiming the 170 lb strap, and it couldn’t have been more impressive.

Though many didn’t believe Bisping to truly be the best middleweight in the world, his takedown defense was always incredible, he’s the much, much bigger man; he has great striking, he’s so very durable, and ‘GSP’ finished him.

That was a perfect comeback story that couldn’t have been written better.

Georges St-Pierre officially retired with a record of 26-2 following his middleweight championship victory, having avenged his only two defeats, and he avenged the defeat to the better fighter twice.

It’s quite rare we see fighters go out on top to begin with, but vacating two different championships?

That takes a truly special athlete to accomplish.

With the way ‘GSP’ could dictate an entire fight with merely his jab alone, not to mention how great of a wrestler he became, coming from a karate background, there’s a good reason he’s widely considered the greatest fighter in the history of mixed martial arts.

Career Accomplishments:

Ranks & Combat Experience Prior to MMA

  • Four-time All-Canadian Open Junior Kumite Championships gold medal (1992, 1993, 1995, 1996)
  • All-Canadian Open Junior Kumite Championships silver medal (1994)
  • 1st-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • 3rd-degree black belt in Kyokushin Karate
  • Black belt in GaidoJutsu (Greg Jackson’s fighting system)
  • Black belt in Shidokan Karate

Mixed Martial Arts

  • UCC Canadian welterweight champion – one defense
  • TKO welterweight champion – one defense (this is pretty astounding, because he only fought outside the UFC six times through his entire 28-fight career)
  • Interim UFC welterweight champion
  • Two-time UFC welterweight champion – zero defenses during first reign, nine defenses during second reign
  • UFC middleweight champion
  • Two-division UFC champion
  • 13-time UFC champion
  • UFC Hall-of-Famer
  • Most welterweight title fights in UFC history (14)
  • Most wins in UFC welterweight championship history (12)
  • Tied for most wins in UFC welterweight history (19) – Neil Magny
  • 2nd most wins in UFC title fights (13) – Jon Jones
  • 3rd most consecutive title defenses in UFC history (9)
  • Most consecutive title defenses in UFC welterweight history (9)
  • 4th multi-division champion in UFC history
  • Most takedowns secured in UFC history (90)
  • Three-time Fighter of the Year (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Avenged only two defeats ever
  • Retired in 2017 with a record of 26-2 (8 knockout, 6 submission, 12 decision)

Honorable Mentions

Daniel Cormier, like Wladimir Klitschko, was so close to walking away from the sport as champion.

Cormier lost to Jon Jones twice, both in title fights, though the second would be overturned due to a drug test failure on Jones’ behalf. Cormier did end up winning the light-heavyweight strap in his absence however, then went up to heavyweight to KO Stipe Miocic in the first round.

‘DC’ was now a champ-champ, and after vacating his 205 lb strap, he defended the heavyweight crown against Derrick Lewis. It’s too bad for him he didn’t call it quits following this fight.

At this point, he was 22-1 (1 NC), and he was on top of the world.

However, Cormier decided to give Miocic a rematch, where he was winning the fight, but got caught in round four and finished. He came back for a trilogy bout with Miocic at 41 years old, but lost that fight via unanimous decision.

Cormier was so close, but just like Wladi, he walked out on a two-fight skid, himself with a record of 22-3 (1 NC).

Tyson Fury also just retired, or so we think. If so, he too has walked away on top, two times.

Following his victory over Wladimir Klitschko back in 2015, he took a near three-year hiatus, before returning to the ring. After a couple tune up fights, Fury was slated against Deontay Wilder for the first time. This fight resulted in a draw, though Fury won 10 of the 12 rounds fought.

Fury then claimed an intercontinental title, before taking another non-title fight.

However, Fury won the WBC & Ring Magazine heavyweight titles in his rematch with Wilder, he defended them in his trilogy with Wilder, and then just defended them for the second time last weekend against Dillian Whyte, before supposedly calling it a career with a record of 32-0-1.

Hopefully he does make his return, because he may just be the greatest heavyweight the sport of boxing has ever seen, he just needs to prove it with a few more high level championship wins.

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