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Matt ‘The Hammer’ Hamill ends retirement, will fight at UFC 152

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Matt "The Hammer" Hamill is coming out of retirement to fight at UFC 152. (Getty Images)

A one-year retirement was just about enough for light heavyweight Matt "The Hammer" Hamill, who has opted to resume his fighting career and will compete next at UFC 152 in Toronto on Sept. 22.

Hamill will meet UFC newcomer Roger Hollett. UFC president Dana White confirmed the move and said the fighters have verbally agreed to fight each other.

Hamill, 35, rose to prominence in 2006 during "The Ultimate Fighter 3." He is deaf and his struggle to overcome his disability and compete at the highest level of mixed martial arts earned him a large following. He was featured in a 2010 movie, "The Hammer."

When he retired, he had a 10-4 record, including a 9-4 mark in the UFC. He is the only man to have a victory over UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, though it was a highly controversial win. Jones controlled the entire fight, but was disqualified by referee Steve Mazzagatti for throwing an illegal elbow.

The most spectacular win of his career came at UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio, when he knocked out Mark Munoz with a kick to the head. That earned him the UFC's "Knockout of the Night" bonus, one of three fight night bonuses he earned in his career.

Hamill also earned Fight of the Night bonuses following wins over Seth Petruzelli and Keith "The Dean of Mean" Jardine.

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Matt Hamill is the subject of a 2010 movie, "The Hammer." (Getty Images)

He announced his retirement on his website after he was thoroughly beaten on Aug. 8, 2011, by Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 133 in Philadelphia. Hamill nearly retired after he lost to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 130 earlier last year, but was convinced to give it one more shot.

But after he was stopped by Gustafsson, he had enough of the physical toll the sport was taking on his body and walked away.

I was ready to make this decision after UFC 130, but my friends, family, coaches and most importantly my daughter encouraged me to give it one last chance. My career has been plagued by injuries starting with 'The Ultimate Fighter' and disrupted my training ever since.

There hasn't been even one training camp where I've been able to train without training around an injury. I have not been kind to my body, and it has nothing left after 28 years of nonstop competition. It's time to finally give it a rest.

Hamill could not be reached for comment Friday and his manager, Duff Holmes, failed to return messages seeking comment.

It is not clear what changed his mind nor how much longer he plans to compete.

UPDATE at 5:32 p.m. ET: Holmes said Hamill had gotten too comfortable with the fame and the lifestyle of a star and that he retired because he didn't have the same drive. Holmes said injuries were a part of it, but a big issue was Hamill's lack of motivation.

He said that Hamill came to the gym in Utica, N.Y., to work out with some of his younger fighters and that those workouts rekindled Hamill's fire.

"I just wanted to make him decided he still wanted to do this," Holmes said. "This is far too difficult a sport to go into fights just half-assing it. When Matt is trained and on, he's a beast. But I was negotiating for him and telling people how great he was looking and then he would come out and look like he did against Rampage. It would make me look like an idiot.

"We talked about what happened. That fame that comes from being a UFC fighter, that's addictive, like a drug. When he retired, the big checks weren't rolling in. He wasn't on a pedestal. It's funny. There's really no difference in him. He was a UFC fighter and now he's a former UFC fighter, but people reacted to him differently. He wasn't being treated like a superstar and I think he missed that and wanted it back."

Holmes said Hamill is back for the long haul and is committed to making a run at the title once again. He said UFC officials had asked him if Hamill would consider middleweight, but Holmes said there is no chance that Hamill could cut to 185 pounds.

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