The most polarizing heavyweight in MMA history has called it quits. Fedor Emelianenko officially announced his retirement from MMA on Thursday after earning his 34th win. The decision should officially end all rumors about Fedor in the UFC…at least in the interim.
Fedor’s 12-year career raised more questions than answers. From 2001 to 2006 Fedor was generally regarded as the best pound for pound fighter in all of MMA and the greatest heavyweight the sport had ever seen. Yet Fedor’s zero fights in the UFC as well as a recent losing streak have many questioning the strength of Fedor’s legacy.
[adinserter block=”2″]Fedor ended his career the way all great athletes should. Fedor went out with a thundering win. Fedor defeated former UFC standout Pedro Rizzo on Thursday in what will go down as the last fight in his career. Fedor rocked Rizzo with a right hand and looked every bit as dangerous as the Fedor most remember from Pride FC. This will be the last memory the Last Emperor leaves before riding off into the sunset.
“I think it is time I quit,” Emelianenko said (per Ria Novosti). “My family influenced my decision. My daughters are growing without me, that’s why it’s time to leave.”
Fedor dominated his competition in Pride FC for the majority of his career. Once Pride FC closed most assumed it was a given that Fedor would eventually sign with the UFC. There were several negotiations between Fedor and the UFC but it never happened. The closest Fedor came was in 2009 when Dana White was already working towards promoting Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor before Fedor shocked the MMA community and took a deal for less money with Strikeforce.
Brock vs. Fedor was held up by MMA fans as the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight of their sport. Like boxing’s golden ticket, the UFC was never able to deliver this mega dream fight to combat sports fans. It is easy to sit back and make predictions on a fight that never happened but one thing is clear. It would have been the biggest MMA fight in history. Ironically both have retired in the last twelve months.
Even after signing with Strikeforce, many still believed that Fedor would join the UFC once his deal ran out. It never happened. Fedor tapped out to Fabricio Werdum in his second Strikeforce fight, thus losing much of the mystique he would have brought to the UFC before the loss. Fedor went on to suffer two more losses thus killing whatever negotiating power he hoped to have at the end of his deal. Fedor only notched one win in Strikeforce against Brett Rogers. However, what most people don’t remember is that Rogers came within inches of beating Fedor in what would have went down as the biggest upset in MMA history after Matt Serra KO’d GSP. Nonetheless he went 1-3 and fueled the haters who always accused Fedor of having a padded record.
[adinserter block=”1″]I have always been a huge Fedor fan. If you were an avid Pride FC fan the last decade, you watched Fedor dominate just about every challenger that came down the pike. It also wasn’t as if Fedor avoided competition in Pride FC. He took on all comers and fought all top contenders. Were the contenders not as good as we thought or did Fedor just peak in Pride before coming to the United States to fight? Nobody will ever know but what I do know is that for about six years, he was the baddest man on the planet.
Fedor will leave MMA after rebounding from his 0-3 skid. Fedor put together a three-fight winning streak, dominating his last two opponents. Fedor will finish his career with a 34-4-1 record with 10 knockouts and three submission wins.
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