Sean Sherk beat Kenny Florian to become UFC lightweight champ.


Nearly three years after his last professional fight, Sean Sherk has officially called it a career.

The former UFC lightweight champion announced his retirement in a release on Monday. A veteran of 41 professional fights, Sherk last competed at UFC 119 on Sept. 25, 2010, where he earned a controversial split decision over Evan Dunham.

Now 40 years old, “The Muscle Shark” began his pro career in 1999, going unbeaten in his first 20 bouts before dropping a five-round verdict to Matt Hughes in a 170-pound title tilt at UFC 42. He made the move to lightweight at UFC 64, where he became the promotion’s first 155-pound king since Jens Pulver vacated the belt in 2002 by outpointing Kenny Florian.

After a successful title defense against Hermes Franca at UFC 73, it was revealed that Sherk tested positive for the steroid Nandrolone. As a result, Sherk was suspended and stripped of the championship. The Minnesota native fell short in his bid to regain the belt in his return to the Octagon at UFC 84, losing to B.J. Penn by technical knockout. Sherk would fight three more times after that, beating Tyson Griffin at UFC 90 and losing to Frankie Edgar at UFC 98 before winning his final outing against Dunham.

Sherk also owns notable triumphs against Karo Parisyan, Manny Gamburyan, and Nick Diaz, among others. In addition to coaching MMA, Sherk plans to continue on an ongoing career in real estate investment, according to the release.

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