One of the most polarizing figures in MMA history may be winding down his career. A Russian news publication reports former Pride FC champion Fedor Emelianenko’s next fight may be his last as the Last Emperor is mulling over retirement.
Emelianenko talked to a publication in Russia about retiring and here is what he said according to English translation.
“I think it’s time to call it a day,” Emelianenko said. “This fight may be my last one.”
Emelianenko would conclude a 38 fight, 12-year career on June 21st. Fedor’s legacy will always be one of the most debated topics among MMA fans and journalists. During his heyday in Pride Fighting Championship, Fedor was regarded by many as the best pound-for-pound fighter in all of MMA. That status however has been in doubt over the last few years, especially after Fedor lost three fights in a row in Strikeforce.
Fedor’s unwillingness to come to the UFC after the Pride FC sale will forever polarize the MMA community. While his defenders will blame Dana White for failing to close the deal, critics will put most of the blame squarely on his management for making ridiculous demands. In my opinion, Fedor taking less money to join Strikeforce as opposed to signing with the UFC for an immediate UFC title fight against Brock Lesnar shows me a guy that was more concerned about facing stiffer competition rather than facing the best and making the most money in the prime of his career.
Fedor’s move to Strikeforce never paid off the way he had hoped. Fedor debuted with a win over the inexperienced Brett Rogers in a fight that almost saw Rogers pull off the improbable upset in the first round. Fabricio Werdum tapped out Emelianenko in his second fight starting the first of a three fight skid which ended with Emelianenko being KO’d by Dan Henderson in his final Strikeforce fight.
Whether Fedor retires or not, hopefully this will end any speculation about Fedor joining the UFC. Fedor teased the move a few weeks ago when he spoke of his desire to fight in the UFC. This chatter immediately inspired rumors that Fedor would replace Alistair Overeem against Junior Dos Santos. Those rumors were immediately shot down, yet some fans ran with the idea regardless of denials.
I wonder how quickly Antonio Inoki gets on the phone working on a Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko New Year’s Eve pro wrestling match.