Mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Fedor Emelianenko will close out his storied career at Bellator after signing a multi-fight extension with the promotion.
The news was announced by Bellator president Scott Coker in the Bellator 222 post-fight press conference on Friday:
“This is gonna be his retirement tour,” Coker said (via ESPN). “I think we’d like to take him to a lot of countries and cities that haven’t seen him in a long time, or maybe have never seen him. It’s gonna be fun when we roll this thing out.”
Emelianenko last suffered a knockout defeat to Ryan Bader in the finals of the recently-concluded Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix earlier this year. Many had called for his retirement following that setback.
However, “The Last Emperor” will still be competing a few more times, at least before calling it a day. According to Coker, potential opponents include Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Josh Barnett.
The 42-year-old is regarded by many as the greatest heavyweight, if not fighters, of all time. The former PRIDE heavyweight champion went undefeated from 2000 to 2009 and most recently had finishes over Frank Mir and Chael Sonnen before losing to Bader. It will be interesting to see who Fedor faces as he begins to close out his storied combat sports career.