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BKFC champion Johnny Bedford announces retirement from combat sports

Johnny Bedford, a two-time BKFC bantamweight champion and a six-fight UFC veteran, has declared his farewell from professional fighting.

After participating in the bare-knuckle promotion for the last four years, he announced his appearance on the BKFC podcast on Wednesday. In addition, Bedford's retirement will result in the loss of his bantamweight title, which he won back in August 2021 by defeating Reggie Barnett Jr.

“I ultimately had to make that hard-ass decision that I know that I can’t be ready to fight at the highest level,” Bedford said during the BKFC Holiday Giveaway podcast. “I’m not waking up at 6 a.m. to go running and it’s 30 degrees and I’m miserable. When I was 30, that excited me. It doesn’t excite me anymore. I don’t want to blabber forever, but I’ve justified it to myself and the people closest to me.”

Bedford entered the world of combat sports with a motive to earn some bucks so that he could pay his monthly rent. This was the only option left for the champion so that he could fulfill his duties. The tough combat sports worn-out Johnny Bedford both physically and mentally too. But upon announcing his retirement, he seemed pretty much confident of the fact he is now financially stable and living a quality life. He also voiced that he has no motivation left his any corner of his body to carry on now.

“I don’t have to fight just buy diapers and pay rent and do whatever it took,” Bedford said. “I used to fight, sh*t, twice a month just to pay bills. Because of bareknuckle and because of smart decisions I’ve made with my money from bareknuckle, I’m finally in a position where, wow. I don’t have to do this anymore. It was probably the hardest decision I’ve made.”

Johnny Bedford revealed that his family is expecting the delivery of a new baby in January 2023 and his 40th birthday is approaching so he has no intention of losing a such moment of his life for another training camp away from his loved ones. The retirement decision was coupled with the possibility that his still working for BKFC and carrying on coaching made it easy for him to call it a career.

Bedford’s run in the UFC wasn’t a successful one. From 2011 to 2014, Bedford competed six times in the UFC. He maintained a record of 2 wins, 4 losses, and one no-contest which resulted in a release from the promotion. His chapter in the BKFC is opposite to UFC. He fully credits his transition to BKFC as his entrance into financial stability.

He swept in his first five BKFC matches, including the bantamweight championship of the promotion. Despite losing the championship to Dat Nguyen in 2021, Bedford regained it the following year after it had been vacated. Bedford was then matched up for his title defense against Jarod Grant in March 2022, but it was called off as he decided to withdraw. A second go vs Nguyen was on the table which was rumored to be scheduled for January 2022, but Bedford found out he was not able to give his best in the training camp.


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