After back-to-back losses ended a remarkable 10 year unbeaten run the word ‘retirement’ tends to crop up more and more when talking about Russian heavyweight star Fedor Emelianenko, and though he’s signed up to fight Dan Henderson in Strikeforce next month, even his management team M-1 Global can’t disguise the fact that the end may now be near.
“I think that if Fedor loses to Dan Henderson, he will retire from Mixed Martial Arts,” M-1 Global’s Vadim Finkelchtein tells Championat.ru (Translated by LowKick).
“And like I said many times before, it will be his decision and we (M-1 Global) have no influence of any kind on whatever he decides to do. It’s all up to him.But we hope for the best. Fedor is very motivated, and will be more than ready for this fight. He has a new goal, and is fully concentrated on reaching it.”
The way Fedor himself tells it, the decision to hang up his gloves almost came following his last loss – a two round beating at the hands of Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva in the quarter-finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP.
“Two mistakes in a row is not a coincidence. I didn’t want to make the third, so that’s why I considered retirement,” Fedor reveals to SportBox.ru. “But then, I discussed the situation with my trainers and my spiritual father. When I returned home, I was fully convinced that it’s not the right time to retire, but to continue fighting. Our life is full of crossroads, and we always have to make the right decisions. I have no regrets about staying in the sport, and will continue fighting.”
Emelianenko hasn’t given himself an easy fight to get back to winning ways though, facing Henderson who’s just proven that he’s got plenty left in his locker at the age of 40 after winning the Strikeforce light-heavyweight title.
He isn’t being nieve though, and is well aware of who he’s going up against.
“Dan Henderson is a very exciting fighter; he’s a strong wrestler and is very quick with taking the fight from stand-up, down to the ground. He starts in stand-up, but then he attacks like a tornado, often surprising his opponents by putting them on their back.”
So will this be ‘The Last Emperor’s’ last stand? We’ll find out for sure on July 30th when the two legends of the sport collide in Illinois.