Fedor Emelianenko last night brought his storied MMA career to a close on a high after knocking out Pedro Rizzo in front of his home fans in St.Petersburg, Russia.
The 35 year-old had hinted that retirement was an option prior to the fight, but after watching him finish Rizzo in just 84 seconds it left the door open for him to keep fighting on.
However, at the post-fight press conference the 35 year-old confirmed that he would now hang up his gloves for good.
“I think it’s time. I’m retiring from sports. I still have the SAMBO World Championships. My family is the reason I will not be fighting again. My daughters are growing without their father, so it’s the right time to leave.”
And so, one of MMA’s most memorable career’s which began back in May of 2000 finally comes to a close.
In all his record stands at 34-4-1 – impressive by anyone’s standards, but the fact that he managed to go 10 years without defeat, including becoming the PRIDE heavyweight champion when the Japanese promotion was at it’s peak, is what really helped him attain legendary status in the sport.
Along the way he defeated a number of major players in the heavyweight division including both Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Cro Crop when they were both considered to be the best weight class had to offer.
There were others too, including the likes of former UFC heavyweight champions Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia, Matt Lindland, Mark Coleman, Mark Hunt and K-1 legend Semmy Schilt who all fell victim to the Russian star.
With such an impressive resume it seemed inevitable that Emelianenko would eventually sign with the UFC, but it’s undoubtedly the one major flaw in his legacy that this never occurred, largely due to an often public feud between his long-time management team M-1 Global and UFC president Dana White.
Instead Fedor would sign for the UFC’s biggest rival’s Strikeforce where he was quickly positioned as their marquee star.
That major deal started off according to plan as Fedor took out Brett Rogers inside of two rounds by KO, but from their his long-running reign of dominance rapidly collapsed.
First came the shock of a 69 second submission loss to Fabricio Werdum which snapped his historic 28 fight unbeaten run which had afforded him almost god-like status amongst his many fans.
With the spell finally broken he would go on to lose a further two fights back-to-back in the Strikeforce cage against Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson before finally being released from the promotion.
With much of the mystique surrounding him now gone and the door to the UFC remaining firmly closed talk of retirement started to circulate, but before that came to pass he did salvage some pride and remind everyone what he was capable of by stringing together a final three-fight winning run, defeating Jeff Monson, Satoshi Ishii and Pedro Rizzo.
With or without the UFC, ‘The Last Emperor’ will undoubtedly go down in the history books as one of MMA’s best ever heavyweight fighters and a class act both inside and outside of the ring who’s quiet, humble demeanor only seemed to add to his aura and lead to him becoming one of the sport’s most beloved fighters.