Chris Cariaso

UFC flyweight Chris Cariaso has announced that he’s retiring from the sport at the age of 34.

“I’ve decided after 22 years of active fighting to call it a career,” Cariaso revealed in an interview with MMAjunkie. “It’s a bittersweet decision, as fighting and competing in a ring or cage is about all that I have known for a lifetime.

“The last four-and-a-half years fighting under the umbrella of Zuffa have been nothing short of amazing. I have so many memories and have been able to travel the world doing what I love best. Honestly, my life is what many only get to dream about and I have to thank so many people for making dreams a reality to me.”

Cariaso fought for Strikeforce early in his career and later had a brief stint in the WEC before arriving in the UFC back in 2011.

Initially fighting as a bantamweight in the Octagon he compiled a 3-1 record and then dropped down to flyweight. He’d suffer a couple of defeats there, but then compiled a three fight winning streak that earned him a title shot against Demetrious Johnson in 2014 which would result in a second round submission defeat.

The title shot was undoubtedly the high water mark in his career and since then his form has slipped, suffering a further two defeats in 2015 prior to his decision to hang up his gloves with a career record of 17-8.

Cariaso, who owns two gyms in Tucson, Arizona and San Francisco, says he now plans to focus on his businesses and family.

“I’m excited for this next chapter in my life,” Cariaso told MMAjunkie. “I’m young still, and I’m healthy still, and I feel that this is the right time to retire. I have so much more to offer the world as a trainer, entrepreneur and father.”