Chris Cariaso, who earned himself a shot at UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in 2014, announced his retirement from MMA.
Cariaso (17-8) lost his last three, starting with a second round submission defeat at the hands of Johnson at UFC 178. Last year, he suffered decision defeats to top contenders Henry Cejudo and Sergio Pettis.
“I’ve decided after 22 years of active fighting to call it a career,” Cariaso said in an interview with MMAjunkie.com. “It’s a bittersweet decision, as fighting and competing in a ring or cage is about all that I have known for a lifetime.”
Over the course of 13 UFC fights, Cariaso scored seven wins, including a three-fight win streak that landed him in a headline bout vs. Johnson. From 2011-14, he went 6-2, scoring victories over Takeya Mizugaki, Danny Martinez and Louis Smolka.
Along with facing off against Johnson, Cejudo and Pettis, Cariaso also squared up with one-time title contender Michael McDonald, Jussier Formiga, John Moraga and former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao.
“The last four-and-a-half years fighting under the umbrella of Zuffa (for both the UFC and WEC) have been nothing short of amazing,” he said. “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’s career started in 2006 with a decision win over Ralph Alvarado. He fought for Strikeforce a year later, earning wins over Andrew Valladerez and Anthony Figueroa.
As for his future, Cariaso will still be around combat sports. He owns two gyms, Rise Combat Sports in Tucson, Arizona and Fight and Fitness in San Francisco. Plus, being away from family has started to tear at Cariaso.
“The fighters I have are headed to greatness, and I want to be there for them 100-percent,” he said. “I have two amazing kids that I want to be there for. I don’t want to miss soccer games and school performances anymore. I want to take my boys to the BMX track, I want to go camping and I want to start living more for my family.”