LOS ANGELES – It's a fight Dana White has had to go through before, and there's no doubt he'll have to go through it again.
When it comes to telling star fighters on the tail end of their careers that it's time to hang up the gloves, the UFC president almost always will get some push-back. Lately, a couple former champions top that list.
Former welterweight champion Matt Hughes (45-9 MMA, 18-7 UFC) and former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin (19-7 MMA, 10-5 UFC) both are fighters the UFC boss believes should call it quits, for largely the same reasons.
"Hughes is one of these guys that, I absolutely, positively want Matt Hughes to retire," White on Thursday told a small group of assembled media following a news conference for UFC on FOX 4. "What else is there to accomplish? The guy's done everything. He's been a staple in this organization for a long time. He's been (freaking) awesome. There's nothing left to prove."
White most famously had to go through that battle with former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, whose career came to a close with a three-fight skid, all by knockout, and five losses in his final six fights.
"It's so hard for these guys to say 'I'm retired.' It's so hard," White said. "The same thing with Chuck, I'm going through it with Matt."
Hughes hasn't fought since a knockout loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC 135 this past September – his second straight first-round knockout setback after a 21-second KO loss to B.J. Penn at UFC 123.
Griffin, though, fought more recently – and won. He took a split decision from Tito Ortiz in the rubber match of their trilogy at UFC 148 in July – and then had a post-fight meltdown of sorts when he ran from the cage and had to be chased down by White halfway to the locker room. Then he took the microphone from Joe Rogan and interviewed Ortiz himself, drawing the ire of Ortiz, White and many fans for interrupting Ortiz's retirement speech.
And though White didn't say that incident plays any factor with wanting to see the Season 1 winner of "The Ultimate Fighter" call it quits, he finds himself in the same position with Griffin as he does with Hughes and Liddell before him – as well as any other star who once was on the top of the sport, but finds the clock ticking and isn't in a title hunt.
"I would like Forrest to retire," White said. "There's nothing left for Forrest to prove, either. He won 'The Ultimate Fighter,' he's had an amazing career, he won the title when everyone thought he couldn't, he's made (expletive) loads of money, he's got a beautiful wife, he's got a baby.
"If you don't want to be a world champion and you're not in the mix, like I call it, why? What's the point?"
White acknowledged that fighters used to the attention may have a harder time giving up the fame and the limelight. But he also said Griffin isn't necessarily keen on the idea of retiring.
"I get it – it's hard to walk away from walking into the arena with the big crowds and all the (expletive)," White said. "But there's a point in time when it's like, 'You've done your thing, man. You've had an amazing career, you've done great things – there's nothing left to prove.'
"(I've told him.) He doesn't like hearing it. He doesn't want to hear me."
Griffin, prior to his win over Ortiz, lost to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 134 with a first-round TKO. But before that, he had back-to-back wins over Ortiz and Rich Franklin, giving him three wins in his past four fights.