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Ricardo Almeida Retires From Mixed Martial Arts

Former ADCC medalist, PRIDE and UFC veteran Ricardo "Big Dog" Almeida has retired from professional mixed martial arts competition.

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According to a post on his Facebook page, Ricardo Almeida has retired from the UFC and MMA more generally. Almeida finished with a very respectable record of 13-5. He made his MMA debut agaist Akira Shoji at PRIDE 12 in 2000 and fought in the UFC directly after that bout. He holds notable wins over Kendall Grove, Matt Brown, Kazuo Misaki, Matt Horwich and a controversial stoppage of Nate Marquardt. He is 34 years old.

Almeida's farewell note reads as follows:

Back in 2008 I decided to return to MMA. Since then I have had the privilege of fighting eight times in the UFC. As a competitor I can think of no bigger thrill than to stand in the center of the octagon with my hands raised.

During these almost four years it has been a personal struggle to find balance between my fighting career, caring for my son who was diagnosed with autism soon after I signed a six-fight deal with the UFC, teaching at my growing Jiu Jitsu Academy and the family duties we all have.

MMA is a great sport but also physically and mentally unforgiving. It is a dangerous task to step in the octagon, specially if your focus is not at 100%.

After much deliberation since my fight at UFC 128 I have decided to step away from the sport as a fighter.

I will continue to fully support the UFC as a coach and of course as a big fan. I would like to thank Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White for their leadership and vision which brought the sport to new heights. I would also like to thank Joe Silva for giving me the opportunity to compete among the best martial artists in the world.

Renzo Gracie, Mark Henry, Frankie Edgar and all my teammates who I could not have gone through this challenge without.

Finally I would like to thank my wife, children and family as well as my students. You will have my integral dedication from here on.

Lastly the fans who make MMA the greatest sport there is.

Almeida's grappling achievements are worth a reminding look as well:

ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship

ADCC 2003 88–98 kg: 4th place

ADCC 2001 88–98 kg: 2nd place Openweight: 4th place

ADCC 2000 Openweight: 3rd place

ADCC 1999 88–98 kg: 3rd place

ADCC 1998 88–98 kg: 2nd place

CBJJ Pan American Championships

1999 Brown Belt pesado: 1st Place

CBJJ Brazilian Championships

1997 Brown Belt Pesado: 1st Place

1996 Purple Belt Médio: 1st Place Purple Belt Open Weight: 3rd Place

I'll always remember Almeida for his early UFC fights where he stuck out to me as a jiu-jitsu fighter willing to throw leg kicks and mix it up a little more. He also always had uncharacteristically good wrestling for a BJJ black belt.

Do yourself a favor and catch up on some of Almeida's fights, grappling matches and interviews. He was never a title contender, but always a serious challenge and technically savvy competitor.

So long, Big Dog. Thanks for your contributions. Congratulations on all your success.