One of BKFC’s original stars, former UFC fighter Johnny Bedford has announced his retirement.
A two-time (and current) bantamweight champion with the bare-knuckle outfit, Bedford (23-14-1, 1NC MMA, 6-1 BKB) announced the news as part of the BKFC Holiday Giveaway, which streamed live on Wednesday.
“I had to be honest with myself,” Bedford stated when announcing his retirement. “I get to leave on my own terms. I had to just be honest with myself and I think that’s the hardest thing for fighters to do.”
“You should know if you have it or not and I had to be honest, just half-assing it and showing up banged up, it’s not good for me, it’s not good for my legacy, it’s not good for the company.”
Bedford’s legacy is that of a two-time champ in BKFC, who made his debut for the promotion at their inaugural event in 2018. Six years and seven fights later, he exits a two-time bantamweight champ after winning the belt initially in 2019.
For Bedford, who is also an active coach, walking away at this point in his career, with a new baby on the way at age 39, made sense especially given the security he now has.
“Because of opportunities I’ve been given and because of smart investments I’ve made financially, I’m finally in a position where I don’t have to do this to buy diapers anymore,” Bedford added. “I’m so thankful that I get to ride off into the sunset with some sort of future for myself, and my kids, and my family, hopefully for generations at this point.”
Starting his MMA career in 2006, Bedford worked his way through the regional scene before landing on The Ultimate Fighter 14 in 2011. He went 2-1 on the show, eventually being eliminated by John Dodson, who won the season at bantamweight.
Despite being eliminated from the reality fighting series, Bedford was signed by the UFC, where he posted a 2-3, 1NC record prior to his release in 2014. He would go 4-2 back on the regional circuit following his release, before jumping to bare-knuckle and never looking back.