Fedor Emelianenko is satisfied with his decision to retire.
On February 4, ‘The Last Emperor’ removed his gloves for the last time. The Russian MMA legend retired after losing by a first-round TKO against Ryan Bader in the Bellator 290 main event. After celebrating his historic career with other MMA pioneers, Emelianenko sat down to talk with the media.
During his post-fight press conference, Emelianenko was asked if he was at peace with his retirement. The 46-year-old responded by saying:
“I feel great.”
It wasn’t necessarily what ‘The Last Emperor’ said that was fulfilling. What was important was how he looked responding, sporting a big smile and a laugh from a guy who rarely shows a lot of emotion.
Unfortunately, Emelianenko wasn’t able to go out on top. The former Strikeforce heavyweight champion came into Bellator 290 with two consecutive wins against Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Tim Johnson, both first-round KOs.
‘The Last Emperor’ wanted to retire after avenging his last loss against Bader, but ‘Darth’ had other plans. Despite the disappointing performance, Bellator did a phenomenal job honoring the Russian legend by inviting some of his past opponents and fellow pioneers into the cage, including Mark Coleman, Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, and more.
Renzo Gracie, Rampage Jackson, Chael Sonnen, Royce Gracie, Chuck Liddell, Fedor Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, Matt Hughes, Frank Shamrock, Randy Couture, Mark Coleman and Dan Henderson (2023)
📸 @BellatorMMA pic.twitter.com/qS0c0in8KW
— Fight Pics That Go Hard (@fightpicsgohard) February 5, 2023
Watch Fedor’s Bellator 290 post-fight interview below:
Fedor Emelianenko explains why he decided to retire
Fedor Emelianenko made his professional MMA debut in 2000. Twenty-three years later, the Russian knew it was time to move on. During the same post-fight interview, Emelianenko was asked why he wanted to retire now. He responded candidly by saying:
“I’m getting older. It was all of the injuries I have in the past. They started reminding me about it. My body doesn’t feel the same way it used to be, so I can’t take the same pressure as I used to.”
Emelianenko’s legacy will never be forgotten. ‘The Last Emperor’ compiled a Pride Fighting Championship record of 14-0, with one no-contest, to solidify himself as the greatest fighter in promotional history and one of the greatest of all time.
The legendary heavyweight holds wins over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Gary Goodridge, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic, Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, Pedro Rizzo, Frank Mir, and Quinton Jackson. The Russian legend will go down as arguably the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time.