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Fedor Emelianenko: One Last Shot at Gold

It is crazy to think that Fedor Emelianenko’s mixed martial arts career is finally coming to an end. February 4, 2023, will be the last time we are graced with a fight from The Last Emperor whose career has spanned over 23 years. There are so many words to describe the career of Fedor Emelianenko – amazing, remarkable, and even legendary. It really is hard to pinpoint the perfect word, simply because there were so many special moments within the career to summarize so briefly.

Now, some fans have asked what it means for Bellator if he wins, if this is his last fight ever. If he wins, he achieves something so special that many MMA legends can’t seem to do – retire as world champion. For Fedor it would be so special; although his illustrious career has had many exceptional moments, ending as champ would be just another story to add to his growing legacy.

If Fedor wins and retires with the heavyweight title, Bellator would be in a pickle but maybe we could get a heavyweight Grand Prix winner (of course, crowned new champ) and all will be right in the division.

Never With The UFC

It is unfortunate that Fedor did not sign with the famed UFC promotion during his career, but it seems that politics and money got in the way of many dream fights that we could have seen. Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor or even Randy Couture vs. Fedor – both would have been blockbuster fights, likely breaking the bank for the UFC, and fight fans would have flocked to the PPV and any price would have most likely been paid. By not signing with the UFC, some naysayers play devil’s advocate with the narrative that he never beat or fought legit competition during his years with Pride. This is unfortunate because for an undersized heavyweight, he always seemed to stand toe-to-toe against many giants and buzz-sawed his way to legendary status.

We all know how the first fight played out for Fedor against Ryan Bader. Thirty-five seconds into the first round Bader got a quick knockout, and the build-up did not deliver for the Bellator 214 World Grand Prix Final. Four years later Fedor finally is on a winning streak and has a chance for redemption. No matter how the fight plays out, this battle is a testament to how much respect the legend Fedor has earned throughout the years from his peers as there has been no outcry about the unfairness of him getting a title shot, as even the champ Ryan Bader welcomes the rematch because of the status Fedor has.

Thank You for The Memories

Many fight fans criticize Bellator and how they do things as a company, but there is no denying that they take care of their legends. It is not often that a legend of the sport gets an opportunity at walking away as champion, so it is exciting to see Fedor be treated fairly in the last fight of his career.

It is the end of an era for sure and, win or lose if you got to witness just a snippet of Fedor Emelianenko’s career you know that the send-off for the legend will be an emotional one. All we can do is say thank you for the memories as his career will last the test of time.

What moment from Fedor’s career will you remember and where would you place him in the debate for the greatest heavyweight of all time? Let us know in the comments below.

main image credits: Getty Images

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