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Former UFC bantamweight Luke Sanders announces retirement from MMA

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The eight-fight UFC veteran has completed his professional career. 

Luke Sanders before his fight with Felipe Colares in May.
Luke Sanders before his fight with Felipe Colares in May.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Luke ‘Cool Hand’ Sanders has retired from mixed martial arts.

The former UFC bantamweight veteran and Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) bantamweight champion made the announcement on Instagram this past Wednesday. Sanders completed his final contract with the UFC earlier this year.

“Cool Hand! Out! I’m officially retired after 8 [UFC] fights, two Performance of the Night awards in two different weight classes, multiple records held in my division,” wrote Sanders. “And whipping everybody’s ass that was put in front of me. It’s been a great ride…thank you to all my coaches, friends, Family, and fans All this was for y’all. Many blessing, All the love guys.”

Sanders began his professional career as a featherweight and won seven consecutive fights, with five of them coming by way of stoppage. He then dropped down from featherweight to bantamweight while competing under the RFA banner and won the vacant bantamweight championship against Jarred Mercado at RFA 20 in just his third fight for the promotion. Sanders successfully defended his championship once before he signed to the UFC.

Sanders made his promotional debut at UFC Fight Night: Dillashaw vs. Cruz, where he submitted Maximo Blanco with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their fight. The Arizona native went on to drop his next two fights against Iuri Alcantara and Andre Soukhamthath respectively, but returned to the win column with a unanimous decision over Patrick Williams.

The final fights of his UFC tenure saw Sanders alternate between wins and losses. He knocked out the former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao at UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Velazquez in 2019 before losing to Nate Maness and Felipe Colares in back-to-back outings. As mentioned in his announcement, the wins over Blanco and Barao earned Sanders two ‘Performance of the Night’ bonuses during his time with the UFC.

Sanders retired with an overall professional record of 13-5.