Despite a tough loss to Ryan Bader at Bellator 290, the legendary Fedor Emelianenko is still content with his decision to retire from mixed martial arts.
With a career spanning over two decades, the Russian icon has played a pivotal role in the history of the sport. From his legendary battles in Pride FC, Strikeforce, and even the wildly controversial but short-lived fight brand Affliction, Emelianenko has done it all and left his mark on the MMA world forever.
While he will go down as one of the greatest fighters of all time, he is a special case because he never fought in what many consider the world’s greatest fight league: the UFC. However, despite this, it’s no question to virtually everybody in the MMA world that ‘The Last Emperor’ is one of if not the greatest heavyweights of all time.
Father time is an un-escapable assailant, though, and he conquers all. Even Fedor Emelianenko. This was sadly evident at Bellator 290, where Ryan Bader would deliver a brutal beat down on the legend. ‘The Last Emperor’ would take it with grace, though, and despite his claims that he feels he could’ve beat Bader, he still went out with dignity and is seemingly done for good with the unforgiving sport of MMA.
An emperor’s last dance, Fedor Emelianenko calls it quits at Bellator 290
Ryan Bader would finish Emelianenko just two and a half minutes into the first round via ground-and-pound TKO. Despite the brutal ending to his storied career, ‘The Last Emperor’ still went out with grace.
“I feel great. He hit me a few times, but I didn’t lose consciousness. I felt everything,” Fedor Emelianenko began, speaking at the post-fight press conference (H/T Sherdog).
“I’m getting older,” He continued. “My age [helped make my decision]. Plus, all my injuries from the past, they start to remind me of them. My body doesn’t feel the same way as it used to. The only thing [I’d do differently], I could have beat Ryan Bader, but it didn’t happen.”
“I was really happy to see all the legends, all the fighters,” he said. Alluding to the fact that many MMA legends were in attendance to watch Emelianenko’s last battle. “With some of them, I shared the ring. With some of them, I watched and learned from them. It was great to have them come and support me.”
Fedor Emelianenko would go on to mention his trademark stoicism. Something that became his brand, basically. As he approached every fight with a stone-cold demeanor. While also talking at every pre and post-fight conference or interview with that same stone-cold attitude. He performed for the world for two decades with that same spirit, as if he was unfazed by the insane talent he would do battle against.
“I take everything as it happens. If I win, lose, it doesn’t really matter. That’s how it has to happen,” he said. “You saw today, the whole arena was cheering for me. I get my popularity and my fan base based on my actions inside the cage, not because I was doing trash talk and talking bad about my opponents.”
Are you sad to see Fedor Emelianenko retire, despite it being his time to do so?