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Rick Hawn retires from mixed martial arts: 'It's time to hang it up'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former Olympic judoka and long-time Bellator veteran Rick Hawn announced his retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) on Monday. The Titan FC lightweight champion made the news official with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.

"After giving a lot of thought, I probably just had the best fight of my career a few weeks ago winning the lightweight title for Titan. It's been a long road. You've been around and seen me years ago in Bellator. I'm 39 years old," he said. "It's time to hang it up.

"I'm going to go out on top, holding the belt. It's just one of those things," Hawn explained. "I'm not a young kid anymore. As you know, it's a hard sport. I'm going out on my own terms. My big announcement is I'm retiring from MMA."

According to Hawn, the decision isn't impulsive. He claimed to be contemplating the move for a while, but ultimately wanted to find the most appropriate time to bow out.

"It's been on the verge the last couple of years. Back in 2013, I almost retired when I was with Bellator, having some contract issues with them. I wasn't really happy at the time. So, I thought about it back then. More recently, over this last summer before I got the call for the Titan fight I pretty much made up my mind that I was going to be done with it and move on to the next chapter.

"It was win or lose, I was going to be done. It's just better to go out with a win," he said. "I think it' a good way to finish it for me."

Hawn, 39, finishes with a record of 21-4 in professional competition. He fought fourteen times for Bellator MMA across two weight classes over the course of four years, winning the season six lightweight and season nine welterweight tournaments. He also was a finalist in the season four welterweight tourney.

He most recently competed at Titan FC 35 in September where he defeated Pat Healy via split decision to claim that organization's lightweight belt.

The American judoka was part of the 2004 Olympic team alongside other notable names like Rhadi Ferguson and Ronda Rousey. Hawn placed ninth at that event.