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Robert Whittaker on UFC retirement - ‘When I start getting knocked out, I’ll bow out’

UFC 254: Whittaker v Cannonier Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Anderson Silva still hasn’t fully committed to retiring from the fight game despite suffering his third straight loss — seven in his last nine — after getting knocked out by Uriah Hall at UFC Vegas 12 a few weeks ago in Las Vegas, Nevada.

If he does decide to return, it won’t be inside the Octagon, according to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White.

Walking away from combat sports is a tough decision for most athletes, whether it’s because they are trying recapture their glory days of yesterday, score one more payday or simply prove to themselves that they still got it.

For Robert Whittaker, however, the choice is crystal clear since he plans to retire by the age of 35 (if not sooner), refusing to go down the path of many great fighters who hung around too long.

“Hell no,” Whittaker said when asked on What The Heck (via MMA Fighting) if he’d be fighting into his 40’s much like Silva — as well as many before him — have done.

“This game is stressful,” he continued. “That’s another thing, these guys that fight throughout their late 30s, early 40s, this game never gets easier. Every fight, never gets easier. The stresses and the nerves are always there. Like, always. I don’t know why they just keep throwing themselves into this game. It is crazy, in my opinion.”

And while Whittaker, 29, does have a retirement age in mind, if he starts losing on a consistent basis -- especially via knockout -- he will walk away from active competition much sooner.

“I have a soft cap, and I’m obviously going to go on how my body feels, but if I start getting knocked out and start losing, my health comes first – I’m gonna just bow out.”

Throughout his 11-year professional career, “The Reaper” has only been knocked out twice, once at the hands of Stephen Thompson at UFC 170 in 2014, then by Israel Adesanya last year at UFC 243.

Whittaker was last seen defeating Jared Cannonier in the co-main event of UFC 254 a few weeks ago, giving him his second straight win over a Top 10-ranked Middleweight contender, and possibly securing him another shot at reclaiming the division strap.