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Former WSOF champion, UFC contender Marlon Moraes announces his retirement

One of MMA’s longtime faces of bantamweight has called it a career.

Marlon Moraes is hanging up the gloves.

The 33-year-old former World Series of Fighting bantamweight champion and one-time UFC title challenger has announced his retirement from the sport.

“I want to thank everyone — Sean Shelby, Dana White and the UFC for giving me so many opportunities,” Moraes said in a statement to MMA Fighting, via his manager Ali Abdelaziz. “I wanna thank my family, my coaches, my manager, everybody who has been around and been part of my career. I want to say thank you to Mark Henry, Ricardo Almeida, Frankie Edgar, Anderson Franca and Hunter Campbell.

“I’m still gonna be around the sport helping young guys and helping my friends.”

Moraes was considered one of MMA’s top bantamweights regardless of promotion and later became one of the UFC’s best at 135 lbs. The Brazilian made a name for himself at World Series of Fighting, starting off with a split decision over former WEC champion Miguel Torres in 2012. He won the inaugural WSOF bantamweight title in 2014 over Josh Rettinghouse, and successfully defended that belt five times before making his long awaited move to the UFC in 2017.

‘Magic’ Marlon didn’t have the greatest of starts to his UFC career, losing a split decision to Raphael Assuncao and only narrowly getting past John Dodson over his first two fights. Then he unleashed brutal knockouts of current champion Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera, followed by a knockdown and submission of Assuncao in their 2019 rematch. He challenged for the vacant UFC title against Henry Cejudo, starting strongly before losing by third-round TKO. You could say he never recovered from that defeat.

After a somewhat controversial split decision over Jose Aldo, Moraes suffered four straight knockout/TKO losses to Cory Sandhagen, Rob Font, Merab Dvalishvili, and most recently Song Yadong last month at UFC Vegas 50. Moraes took his gloves off in the cage after the loss to Song, something that’s usually indicative of a retirement. It wasn’t announced at the time but it’s official now.

Moraes leaves the sport with a record of 23-10-1 over the span of 15 years as a professional. He may not have achieved his goal of becoming UFC champion, but he certainly provided a lot of fantastic highlights and great fights throughout his MMA career.