After a UFC career spanning eight years, former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin has announced his retirement.

UFC President Dana White made the announcement at last night’s UFC 160 post-fight press conference with Griffin present. White expressed the admission that Griffin “has been a huge star for us” and for that service, the president said:

“He will stay with this company at least for the rest of my life.”

Griffin first gained fame for a historical all-out war with Stephan Bonnar at the very first “Ultimate Fighter” finale that crowned him the promotion’s first ever “Ultimate Fighter” winner. He then went on a successful stretch inside the Octagon, winning 10 of 15 fights that even included an inspiring decision victory over then champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in 2008 to become UFC light heavyweight champion himself.

Since debuting in a 2001 loss against UFC Hall of Famer Dan Severn, Griffin has managed to become a household name among MMA fans. In a storied 26-fight professional career, the Athens, Georgia native triumphed in 19 of them, with wins over the likes of “Shogun” Rua, Tito Ortiz, Chael Sonnen, and Rich Franklin.  As a winner of three of his last four that included a victory over Ortiz to close his career, he can end it all on a positive note.

After recently falling victim to injury in two of his last three scheduled fights, Griffin decided, with some help from the UFC president, that it was time to hang it up. The former TUF winner and light heavyweight champion realized he could no longer offer his best, so retirement was the next logical option.

“Having them push your fights, and you don’t actually fight, it’s time to retire. UFC does a lot of charity stuff locally, for the troops, it’s always something I wanted to pursue.” He also added, “I saw the Stann-Wanderlei fight and I thought if I don’t have another one of those in me, it’s time to retire.”

While his fighting career may have concluded, he still has options for the future. It’s not entirely certain what he sees in that future but he does acknowledge he has accomplished what he set out to do so far in his life.

“This has been my dream since 2000. This has been all I want to do, so I don’t really know what’s next.”

He doesn’t know what he sees himself doing next but he can rest assure of one thing: He’ll be doing it as a UFC Hall of Famer. After the UFC 160 press conference, Dana White spoke to Karyn Bryant of MMA H.E.A.T. and said Griffin and the other half of that monumental “Ultimate Fighter” finale war, Stephan Bonnar, will be inducted into the promotion’s Hall of Fame in July.

You can watch the press conference here courtesy of MMA H.E.A.T.

Photo by Scott Petersen – MMA Weekly