UFC Hall-of-Famer Chuck Liddell is struggling with the idea of retirement that was foisted upon him by Dana White, after Liddell was knocked out by Rich Franklin. Lyoto Machida's father hopes his son will retire soon.
But what both White and Yoshizo Machida fail to see is that retirement is never a choice that can be made by someone else. Retirement has to be a personal choice, or the retired fighter will always look at the Octagon and think, "Maybe. Maybe one more fight, and I'll be back."
At UFC 116, White said that Liddell was chomping at the bit as the show began with the infamous opening montage set to "Baba O'Riley."
"He told me tonight the show open messed him up, watching [UFC 116] open," White said. "This guy's in this longer than me. He's been around forever and loves the sport. All I'm hoping is that he makes the right decision."
It's understandable. In the past, when Liddell heard that song, he could think about his next fight. Whether that fight was in an hour or in months, Liddell knew there was one more challenge in front of him. Sitting at UFC 116, Liddell had to come to the realization that he had no fight to train for.
Machida's father said that his son hopes to retire in three years, at age 35. That's easy to plan for now, but will Machida be able to give it up so easily? He has sustained relatively little damage, mostly because of his slick, stick-and-move style. His loss to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua was not only his first loss, but his first time getting knocked out.
In three years, will Machida walk away, or will he struggle with the decision as Liddell has? What's most important is that he makes the decision for himself, because as Liddell can tell him, once you get that feeling of a championship belt around your waist, it's hard to walk away from trying to get it back.