When heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko signed a new three-fight contract with Bellator MMA, the expectation was that it signalled the final chapter of his career.
According to the man himself, however, retirement could be further off than the end of this new Bellator contract. He might continue fighting beyond that if he still feels good.
“That’s what we discussed, that’s what we agreed on, but let’s see how I feel,” Emelianenko told reporters through his translator when asked when he intends to retire (via MMA Mania). “Right now the plan is just like Scott laid out, there’s gonna be three fights and it’s kind of a retirement tour, but when the tour is over let’s see how I feel, we’ll go from there.”
Fedor Emelianenko last fought in January, when he was flattened by Ryan Bader in a bid to capture the vacant Bellator heavyweight title. This loss was preceded by a pair of wins over Chael Sonnen and Frank Mir, which earned him the opportunity to fight Bader for the belt.
The Russian legend will return to the cage this weekend, when he takes on fellow PRIDE legend Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the main event of Bellator’s anticipated debut in Japan. This bout will serve as the first obligation on the aforementioned three-fight contract.
Emelianenko has been fighting professional since 2000, and is widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight in MMA history. Over the course of his illustrious career, he’s picked up wins over fighters like Renato “Babalu” Sobral, Heath Herring, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira (twice), Kazuyuki Fujita, Gary Goodridge, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović, Mark Hunt, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, Satoshi Ishii, Mir and Sonnen.
Do you think Fedor Emelianenko should continue fighting, or has the time come for the legend to hang up the gloves?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/27/2019.