Fedor Emelianenko Talks Retirement, His Legacy, and Possible Drop to Light Heavyweight

July 5, 2011
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Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor Emelianenko

“Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” – Batman Begins

Former Pride champion Fedor Emelianenko echoed a similar quote when he lost via submission to Fabricio Werdum in 2010. Prior to that loss, the Russian legend had never truly tasted defeat before.

Unfortunately, Emelianenko picked himself back up only to be put down again by massive heavyweight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva when the two met in February this year. The loss not only gave Emelianenko the second true loss on his ultra impressive record, but back-to-back defeats at that.

Following the fight with Silva, Emelianenko spoke candidly about his future in fighting.

“Yes, maybe, it’s the last time. Maybe it’s high time. Thanks for everything. I spent a great beautiful long sport life. Maybe it’s God’s will,” Fedor said about his possible retirement following the loss to Silva.

After returning home to Russia, Emelianenko had time to reflect on his career and his love of fighting, and soon signed to face Dan Henderson in a heavyweight bout that takes place in Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson on July 30.

He admits that he may have been a prisoner of the moment back in February following the loss, but much like many things in Fedor’s life, ultimately he’s leaving it up to a higher power to decide when he calls it a career.

“I did speak of retiring and it was said in haste,” Emelianenko revealed in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. “After returning home, I discussed the situation with my coaches and spiritual father.

“After this I was absolutely sure that it is not the time for retirement and I must continue to fight. Now I’m training and preparing for the next battle with Dan Henderson. We will look at the circumstances after and evaluate then.”

In MMA, Emelianenko is considered one of the greatest of all time, maybe the greatest of all time. But like many great champions in several different sports, eventually the time to rule comes to an end.

For Fedor Emelianenko, he doesn’t like to hear words like “the greatest” or “the best of all time,” because he’s still extremely humble about all of his accomplishments.

A win over Dan Henderson will just be another win, and if he happens to lose, it will just be another loss.

“I am human like everyone else. I don’t consider my achievements as a ‘legacy.’ I’ve never considered myself as a ‘legend’ – just a simple man with heart,” Emelianenko stated. “I have been blessed to have competed with success.

“MMA is a sport and any time you compete one person will win and one person will not. All I can do is prepare my best and everything else is God’s will.”

Career longevity is important to most fighters, and it’s no different with Emelianenko.

Many athletes in MMA have looked to improve their careers by dropping weight classes, looking to gain an advantage and become the bigger man in a fight.

Always considered a relatively small heavyweight despite his gargantuan accomplishments, Emelianenko heard from a great many people that he should consider a drop to 205 pounds to rejuvenate his career following those two losses.

Emelianenko will next compete against Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson on July 30, but the fight will take place at heavyweight. As far as his future goes, Emelianenko will never say never when it comes to a possible drop to 205 pounds, but it’s not something he’s focused on as he heads into his next bout.

“I have competed as a heavyweight all my career and this contest with Dan Henderson will be in this weight class as well. I will prepare to the best of my abilities. What happens after is God’s will,” Emelianenko said.

It appears the career path for Fedor Emelianenko really will be one fight at a time, and the next stop is Chicago and a date with Dan Henderson. Whether he wins or loses, the fight will be the turning point for a great champion to decide what’s next.


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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  • donaldong

    why he choose to retire so early? i think he still can be a good fighter in next 2 years.
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