Luke ‘Cool Hand’ Sanders retired from mixed martial arts.
The former UFC bantamweight veteran and Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) bantamweight champion made the announcement on Instagram last Wednesday. Sanders finished his last contract with the UFC earlier this year.
“Cool hand! Outside! I am officially retired after 8 [UFC] fights, two Performance of the Night awards in two different weight classes, multiple records held in my division, ”Sanders wrote. “And whip everyone’s ass that’s been put in front of me.” It was a great ride… thank you to all of my coaches, friends, family and fans. It was all for all of you. Lots of blessings, all love guys.
Sanders started his professional career as a featherweight and won seven consecutive fights, including five by stoppage. He then switched from featherweight to bantamweight while competing under the RFA banner and won the vacant bantamweight championship against Jarred Mercado at RFA 20 in his third bout for promotion. Sanders successfully defended his championship once before signing for the UFC.
Sanders made his promotional debut at UFC Fight Night: Dillashaw vs. Cruz, where he subdued Maximo Blanco with a choke in the back in the first round of their fight. The Arizona native then dropped his next two fights against Iuri Alcantara and Andre Soukhamthath respectively, but returned to the winning column with a unanimous decision over Patrick Williams.
The final fights of his tenure at the UFC saw Sanders alternate wins and losses. He knocked out former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao at UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Velazquez in 2019 before losing to Nate Maness and Felipe Colares in back-to-back outings. As mentioned in his announcement, victories over Blanco and Barao earned Sanders two “Performance of the Night” bonuses during his time in the UFC.
Sanders retired with an overall professional record of 13-5.