Antoni Hardonk (left) is walking away from the Octagon to focus on teaching. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
UFC heavyweight Antoni Hardonk has retired from active competition, the promotion announced Friday. Hardonk, 35, has stepped away from the sport in order to focus on teaching at his Dynamix gym in California.
“I opened up my gym in spring 2010 [and] started teaching and building a team, both for recreational practitioners that love the sport, and for some of the guys that I always trained with like Vladimir Matyushenko, Jared Hamman, and some other fighters that joined us,” said Hardonk. “And I got more into the role of trainer [and] coach. I still had fighting in my head because I was still young and I love competing, but I got so busy that going into 2011, I felt that I was really motivated in teaching and coaching, and I wasn’t really training myself as much.”
Hardonk holds a 4-4 Octagon record since he made his promotional debut in 2006. Known for his powerful low kicks, the Dutchman holds victories over the likes of Eddie Sanchez and Wes Sims. Hardonk began his MMA career in 2001, putting together two three-fight win streaks over his nine years as a pro. “Mr. Wonderful” suffered back-to-back losses to finish out his career, falling by TKO to fellow kickboxers Patrick Barry and Cheick Kongo in 2009.
“I love to share and help people accomplish their goals. I think it’s something I always had in me, but I put it away because I put myself first and I wanted to enjoy this lifestyle and fight and compete and test myself,” said Hardonk. “But taking that year off and focusing more on that other side and that teaching and coaching aspect of myself, I found that I get as much satisfaction from that as from fighting itself.”