The fight game is usually seen as a young person’s sport, but with the right lifestyle choices, some fighters can still compete well past their 40s. Some of these men even became champions at this point in their careers. Here are a few fighters whose careers lasted well past their prime.
George Foreman is the oldest fighter to win a heavyweight title
Although George Foreman may now be best known for his line of novelty grills, he actually holds the distinction of being the oldest man to win the heavyweight title. Foreman’s most famous fight was against Muhammad Ali during their Rumble in the Jungle event, but that was just the start of his career.
After losing to Ali, Foreman did some soul searching and eventually left the sport in 1977 at the age of 28. He returned 10 years later at the age of 38 and went on a 24-fight win streak, most of them by knockout. After two setbacks, Foreman finally won the heavyweight title in 1994 at the age of 45 by knocking out Michael Moorer.
Foreman defended his belts several times before losing one last time in 1997 and retiring for good at the age of 48.
Yoel Romero is one of the toughest UFC fighters in the game
Unlike Foreman, Yoel Romero never became a champion, but he’s still one of the toughest fighters in the UFC despite being 42 years old. An Olympic level wrestler, Romero still competes at the highest levels of the UFC today.
Romero currently has a record of 13-4, and despite losing his chance at winning the title three times in a row, Romero still hopes to be a UFC champion in the future.
Fedor Emelianenko continues to dominate
The greatest MMA fighter to never fight in the UFC, Fedor Emelianenko remains successful in other MMA organizations even in his 40s. Emelianenko is now 42 and he’s not as undefeatable as he once was in his earlier days.
However, he’s still one of the best heavyweights in the world right now, and even at his age, he’s still knocking men out in the first round. He hasn’t won a title yet at this stage in his career, but he’s certainly trying.
Rather than retiring from the sport, Emelianenko recently agreed to fight a few more times for Bellator, the MMA organization that he’s signed with. He lost his last title shot, but he hopes to make a rebound soon and claim heavyweight gold once again.
Randy Couture fought until he was almost 50
In fact, in 2003, Couture won and defended the light heavyweight belt by beating Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz back to back. He’d lose to Liddell twice in their rematches, but Couture’s career wasn’t over yet.
In 2007, Couture moved up to heavyweight and defeated Tim Sylvia to become the heavyweight champion at the age of 43. Couture would remain successful in the UFC for four more years before finally retiring at the age of 47.
Bernard Hopkins fought until age 51
The oldest boxing champion ever, Bernard Hopkins just barely beats Foreman in that area as Hopkins won a boxing title at the age of 46. Hopkins had a long and successful career before that though, and he defeated many men at this stage of his career.
When Hopkins was 39 years old, he became the first man to knockout Oscar De La Hoya, and a few years later, Hopkins defeated Roy Jones Jr. Although Hopkins’s title run at the end of his career was relatively short, he still competed with the best boxers of the time.
He finally retired in 2016 at the age of 51 after suffering his last loss in the ring.