A one fight curiosity for Canadian mixed martial arts (MMA) pioneer Joe Doerksen turned into a 15-year odyssey during which time he competed against some of the best fighters in the world.
Now the 37-year-old is hanging up the gloves to focus on coaching, as well as an impending marriage and fatherhood. According to MMAjunkie.com, he had been considering stepping aside for the past four years.
"No more punches in the face, at least not for money. I can still tie my shoes and remember my name, and I think I'm going to quit while I'm ahead."
The pride of New Bothwell, Manitoba, Doerksen actually started his MMA career in the "Bas Rutten Invitational" in 1999, winning three fights in one night before falling to Eugene Jackson. Several fights later Doerksen was thrown into the deep end of MMA, winding up against UFC Welterweight legend Matt Hughes at Extreme Challenge 29, a fight he lost via punches in the second round.
Doerksen then went on a tear, winning 12 fights in a row over such notable opponents as Lee Murray and John Alessio. "El Dirte" was already 33 fights deep into his career when he made his Octagon debut against Joe Riggs at UFC 49, a fight he lost in the second round.
Although the Canadian went 2-7 in the Octagon, he did find some success, submitting Patrick Cote at UFC 52 and Tom Lawlor at UFC 113, a fight in which he was a 5:1 underdog. It's a win he counts as one of his proudest moments:
"That's the greatest odds I've ever faced, and coming out with a win as an underdog, that felt really good. Another one was in Japan, when I fought for Sengoku (in 2008 against Izuru Takeuchi) in the Saitama Super Arena. They brought us all out in the arena before we fought. I stood there thinking, ‘Man, this is the coolest thing I've ever done.'"
Doerksen is going out on a four-fight win streak, including a victory over UFC veteran Kalib Starnes. His MMA record stands at 51-16. You can wish him well here:
That's right folks. Officially retired. Thanks for the memories. It was one hell of an adventure.— Joe Doerksen (@JoeDoerksen77) August 22, 2015