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.
[adinserter block=”2″]Fedor Emelianenko is scheduled to fight former UFC fighter Pedro Rizzo on June 21 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The fight would be Emelianenko’s third fight since departing Strikeforce. The third time may be the charm as Emelianenko is looking to go 3-0 before a possible ride off into the sunset.
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.
[adinserter block=”1″]Fedor retiring would be welcome news for the UFC. There are some that believe that the UFC are holding on to guys that would normally be cut out of fear that they would sign with M1 for a big fight against Fedor. Rampage Jackson and Alistair Overeem are two guys that immediately come to mind when you look at this scenario. With Fedor out of the picture, the UFC would have absolutely nothing to worry about in regards to giving a rival promotion an immediate super fight. Whether the UFC takes this into account or not is something we will probably never know. Regardless, it is one less scenario that the company has to worry about.
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.