On Saturday night, the MMA community will bid adieu to one of the all-time greats.
Fedor Emelianenko will make his final walk to the cage in the main event of Bellator 290 when he challenges Ryan Bader for the heavyweight title. The promotion’s premiere broadcast on CBS television is this event, which takes place in Inglewood (Calif.) at the Kia Forum.
While Emelianenko doesn’t usually show emotion during fights, he seems to choose to express excitement about turning the pages to his next chapter.
“Of course, [I’m emotional], finally I get to be done with all of that,” Emelianenko said on The MMA Hour. “Honestly, I think it has to be over because I’m 46 years old, and [to be a] veteran such as myself, I don’t want to [fight] someone way younger as a competitor. It is getting harder .”
“The last Emperor” competed in Strikeforce and Dream events, as well as Bellator, among many other promotions, over the course of his nearly two decades-long pro career. Emelianenko holds wins over several of the legends of the sport — such as Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Antonio Nogueira, Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt, Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen, and many others throughout his incredible run.
Trying to define Emelianenko’s legacy could go a number of different ways. The man said that he wanted to be remembered as someone who was a good competitor and let his feet do all the talking.
“As a fighter who believes in God,” Emelianenko said. “I earned my fans in the cage, not outside the cage talking trash.
“I still have my happy moments in my career because even though I’m about to be retired, I still have my team, guys competing at the highest levels to become champions, so I still have my happy moments.”
As Emelianenko is set to walk to the cage for the 48th and final time, he was asked about the most memorable and favorite fights of his career.
“[My favorite] was the first fight against Antonio Nogueria,” Emelianenko stated. He was the No. 1 at the time, he was the champion of Pride, he had the belt, and I had to activate my fighter I.Q. at 100 percent. It was very challenging on the ground, and all over. Thank God it was possible.
” It was similar to Mirko Cro Cop but only with standing .”