New Zealand light heavyweight James Te Huna has ended a 20-year career in mixed martial arts fighting.

Te Huna announced his retirement on social media, saying the decision was difficult but he needed to consider his health.

Along with Mark Hunt, Te Huna has been the best recognised Kiwi fighting on the UFC during its rise to prominence over the last five years.

He headlined the first UFC card in New Zealand in 2014 at Vector Arena where he lost to Nate Marquardt via first round submission.

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The 34-year-old was knocked out by Canadian Steve Bosse in his final fight, a UFC promotion in Brisbane in March.

That was a fourth consecutive first-round loss and came came nearly two years after the Sydney-based Te Huna's previous fight.

His UFC career record was 18 wins and nine losses.

- AAP