LOS ANGELES -- A professional fighting career is a tough thing to leave behind. Time after time over the years, whether in mixed martial arts or boxing, fans have watched former champions hang on too long.
UFC president Dana White understands why this happens.
"I get it," White said. "It's hard to walk away from the arena with the big crowds and all that [expletive]."
But White also knows that a time comes for every fighter to step aside, and sometimes they need a bit of a shove.
To that end, White told reporters Thursday at the UFC on FOX 4 press conference at the JW Marriott hotel that two former champions need to think about winding down their time in the Ocgtaon: UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, and former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin.
"I absolutely, positively want Matt Hughes to retire," said White. "What else is there to accomplish? The guy has done everything, he's been a staple in this organization for a long time, he's been [expletive] awesome, there's nothing left to prove."
While then went on, without prompting, to say that he considers Griffin another fighter who should think about hanging ‘em up.
"It's so hard for these guys to say ‘I'm retired.' So hard. The same thing with Chuck [Liddell], we're going through it with Matt. I would like Forrest [Griffin] to retire. Nothing left for Forrest to prove either. He won The Ultimate Fighter, he won the title when people thought he couldn't, he became a huge star, he made [expletive] of money. He's got a beautiful wife, he's got a baby. You know, if you don't want to be a world champion, and you're still not in the mix, why?"
The 38-year-old Hughes, a native of Hillsborough, Ill., was the UFC's first truly dominant welterweight. He held the division title twice between 2001-06. His record is 45-9, but in his past two Octagon appearances, he's been on the wrong end of knockouts at the hands of B.J. Penn and Josh Koscheck.
Griffin, 33, become one of the UFC's most popular fighters for his fearlessness in the cage. Griffin and Stephan Bonnar helped put the modern-day UFC on the map when Griffin defeated Bonnar to win the first "Ultimate Fighter," then stunned the MMA world by defeating Quinton "Rampage" Jackson to win the light heavyweight title in 2008.
White said he's expressed his retirement opinion to Griffin, and the fighter doesn't want to hear it.
"He's doesn't like hearing it, and he's not going to like hearing it again," White said.