UFC 169′s Jamie Varner says he’ll retire in three years at age 32

UFC President Dana White has said that when fighters start talking retirement, they should probably start thinking about hanging up the gloves. Lightweight Jamie Varner has a plan to call it quits in three years at age 32, which is 14 years after he started fighting. But he claims he is no less focused on his remaining goal in the sport – to win a UFC belt. In fact, Varner (22-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) is making an aggressive push toward his goal. He accepted a fight with Abel Trujillo (11-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) on short notice at Saturday’s UFC 169 because he wants to kickstart his push toward the title. “I only got one fight in 2013, and I see my window closing as far as being an athlete and competing at this high level,” Varner told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’ve been fighting as a professional since I was 18; I’ve got 11 years in the sport. “I started at the UFC in 2006, so that’s a long time, man. Plus, I started boxing when I was 11 years old and wrestling when I was 14. It’s a long time to be taking beatings. I want to make the most of it. I want to get three or four fights this year and three or four next year, and I’m going to retire when I’m 32.” Varner steps in for Bobby Green, who withdrew from the bout for undisclosed reasons. The new booking serves on the fight card’s opening pay-per-view fight at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The 29-year-old former WEC champ got the call to replace Green on New Year’s Day. He weighed 189 pounds and immediately hunkered down to shed the necessary weight to make the lightweight limit of 156 pounds for a non-title fight. On Tuesday in Newark, he tipped the scales at 169 pounds. Varner said he’d like to start a family and fulfill other goals in his life, which include coaching and training other fighters. Recently, he made another departure from his on-again, off-again trainers at Arizona Combat Sports and hired a new team of coaches. He said he is well-suited for his final years in the sport, but also ready to make a change when his time expires. “First, I’ve got to focus on the fight with Abel,” he said. “I’ve had a four-week training camp. I’m confident. I don’t think is going to be able to beat me, but all it takes is one mistake, and the fight could be over.” Varner is complimentary of Trujillo’s recent win in a rematch with Roger Bowling and admits the Blackzilian fighter has a five-week head start in training for the fight. “Abel’s a very fast, athletic, explosive dude,” he said. “He’s a lot like Melvin Guillard; I would say he’s a little bit hungrier than the Melvin that I fought.” Varner earned a split call over Guillard at UFC 155 and has alternated wins and losses since a second UFC stint that started with an upset win over Edson Barboza at UFC 146. Trujillo, whose first fight with Bowling ended in a no-contest, is 2-1 in the octagon. “From the first time he fought Roger to the second time, he was a completely different cat,” Varner said of Trujillo. “He’s getting better. He’s with a great camp; they have an Olympic gold medal wrestler teaching them wrestling.” Halting the advance of a rising upstart would be a great way to start the year for Varner. It’s been a long road to veteran status for the fighter, who once sat atop the 155-pound class in a smaller promotion. Now, he has one last chance to put his experience to use. And unlike fighters who hang on for too long, and have to be told by White that they should quit, Varner is as sure as he can be that he will stick to his decision. “I’m pretty confident I’ll be done,” he said. “That’s a long time in the sport. I was a world champ (in the WEC) and defended it. This is going to be my run in the UFC, and hopefully I get there. If I don’t, I’m going to fight hard and put on shows for the fans and develop a strong legacy.” For the latest on UFC 169, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.