Long-time UFC fighter Matt Hamill has announced that he has retired from the sport following his loss to Alexander Gustafsson at this past weekend’s UFC 133 event.

The 34 year-old made the announcement on his own official website earlier today.

“Today is a sad day for me. After six years and 13 fights in the UFC I’m ready to hang up my gloves and retire from this amazing sport.

The UFC has been extremely good to me and given me an opportunity to make a great living. That exposure has allowed me options outside the Octagon as well. I just don’t have it in me to fight anymore and my last two performances have shown that.

I was ready to make this decision after UFC 130 but my friends, family coaches and most importantly my daughter encouraged me to give it one last chance. My career has been plagued by injuries starting with The Ultimate Fighter and disrupted my training ever since.

There hasn’t been even one training camp where I’ve been able to train without training around an injury. I have not been kind to my body and it has nothing left after 28 years of non stop competition. It’s time to finally give it a rest.

I can’t continue to fight without having the hunger and desire to do so. I can’t let my performances reflect on my coaches who are the best in the world and the reason I’ve made it this far.

I have fallen in love with the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and I will continue to coach at our gym Mohawk Valley MMA along side my teammates and help the next generation of fighters make it to the UFC. I also look forward to continuing my business ventures outside the UFC including “Hamill” the movie based on my life story set to be released this fall.

I want to thank Dana White, Joe Silva Lorenzo Fertitta and everyone at the UFC for the opportunity to make something special out of my life.

Thank you to Duff, Holmes, Bruno Tostes, Dave Kingwater, Renzo Gracie, Tim Greene, Daniel Gracie, Pat Popolizio, Ron Gross, Doug Blubaugh and Mark Dellagrotte.

Thank you to all my training partners who have shared their blood sweat and tears with me along the way. Thank you to all my friends and family for their unconditional support and most of all thank you to my fans! It’s the fans that have made this the truly special experience it has been.

The UFC has become family to me and I hope to be involved with the number one mixed martial arts organization in the world as a coach, ambassador and fan for a long time to come.”

Hamill rose to prominence after appearing as a contestant on the second season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ where he immediately stood out due to the fact that he was deaf.  Beyond that he also proved to have genuine talent, particularly thanks to his wrestling background, despite having only one pro fight before entering the show.

‘The Hammer’ had to pull out of the semi-finals of TUF due to an injury, but he was invited back for the season finale and has been with the promotion ever since.

While he never broke into the elite of the 205lb division Hamill proved to be a solid, dependable fighter for much of his UFC career and at one stage held a 9-2 record in the Octagon, including notable wins over the likes of Tito Ortiz, Mark Munoz and Keith Jardine.

There were some bumps along the way though – most notably a fight with Jon Jones in which he was beaten up and humbled by the future champion before an illegal elbow strike resulted in Jones being DQ’d. Although he was awarded the win Hamill rightly considered this a loss and in many respects he’s never looked the same since.

In 2011 his performances have been particularly lackluster, resulting in a decision loss to Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson in May, and then a TKO loss to Gustafsson on Saturday night.

As I wrote just yesterday, Hamill’s sub-par display’s were now threatening his very future in the UFC and I questioned whether he was still motivated to keep fighting.  His retirement today provides the answer.

Overall it’s good that Hamill has made the decision now rather than suffer further losses and be forced to make the same decision further down the road.  He’s had a successful career and it’s great to see that someone who was just another competitor on the TUF show a few years ago now has so many opportunities to keep him going now that his career has come to an end.  We wish him well.