This Thursday, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko is expected to retire from MMA competition, facing Pedro Rizzo in St. Petersburg, Russia. The fight will sum-up Emelianenko’s illustrious career after 39 professional Mixed Martial Arts fights.

The legendary Russian made his professional debut more than twelve years ago. Emelianenko is best-known for his incredible run of 31 consecutive victories (not counting the loss to Tsuyoshi Kohsaka), before getting submitted by Fabricio Werdum in an all-time upset.

When Fedor talks about whether he will retire on June 21st, it becomes pretty clear that “The Last Emperor” finds it hard to stop fighting. Emelianenko still seems uncertain about his future.

“It’s up to God,” Fedor told in an exclusive interview with “I still have to fight Pedro Rizzo.”

Pedro Rizzo’s last fight was against Ken Shamrock back in 2010, yet, Emelianenko believes The Brazilian is still a force to be reckoned with.

“Pedro is an experienced fighter,” says the three years younger Fedor. “He has some very good victories on his record. He beat Jeff Monson and Josh Barnett, so I’m ready to fight in both stand-up and on the ground. I’ll adjust during the fight.”

Emelianenko is 2-0 since his Strikeforce exit, with victories over Jeff Monson and Satoshi Ishii. Both fighters were unable to go toe-to-toe with Fedor in stand-up.

Fighting in Russia is clearly a rejuvenating experience for Fedor, who spent a majority of his career fighting abroad. Russian fans love their Emperor, and are expected to sell out the 12,300-capable Ice Palace.

Looking back at his MMA career, Fedor regrets absolutely nothing. He’s still the same Fedor Emelianenko. Fans are still speculating about “prime” Fedor could win the K-1 World GP, and KO one of the Klitschko’s. However, those dreams will never become a reality.

“It’s hard to say if I changed as a fighter. I’m competing for more than 12, so it’s really hard to tell. I know that my training process has changed. As far as other sports go – all I can say is that I’m loyal to Mixed Martial Arts.”

Fedor Emelianenko was recently elected as the first president of Russian MMA Union. Multi-time PRIDE champion is expected to help the development of Mixed Martial Arts in Russia, and seems highly optimistic about the future of this sport:

“People in Russia are very interested in Mixed Martial Arts. Our main goal is to make MMA popular. We formed a union of 49 Russian regions, which will help us recognize MMA as a sport in Russia, as well as becoming a part of international MMA organizations.”

Emelianenko is a role model for many up-and-coming MMA fighters. While he’s not interesting in a post-retirement coaching role, Emelianenko has a word of advice for MMA enthusiasts around the world.

“If you want to achieve your goals as a fighter you must train hard. Obviously, you have to love this sport and stay patient. “

Stay tuned to for more Fedor Emelianenko vs. Pedro Rizzo news. The fight will take place this Thursday, at 10AM EST.