MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko announced his retirement on June 21, moments after knocking out Pedro Rizzo in St. Petersburg, Russia.
"I think it's time," Fedor announced after the fight, in front of an enthusiastic crowd which included Russian president Vladimir Putin. "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."
Even though Fedor struggled a bit during the final years of his MMA career, he'll still be remembered as one of the greatest in the history of the sport. He dominated MMA's heavyweight division for quite some time, going undefeated for over nine years.
Fedor's luck eventually ran out when he faced Fabricio Werdum in 2010, getting caught in a triangle-armbar combo after rocking the Brazilian. He ran into more problems in his next fight against Antonio Silva, taking a lot of punishment before being stopped in the second round.
After losing his third straight fight to Dan Henderson, Fedor finally turned things around, winning his next two fights against Jeff Monson and Satoshi Ishii before closing out his career with his 84 second knockout of Rizzo. He'll leave the sport with a 34-4 (1NC) record.
Fedor gave MMA fans many awesome memories over the years, but my favorite will always be his 2004 victory against Kevin Randleman. He displayed the heart of a champion when Randleman delivered a devastating German-suplex that would have stopped a lesser man, coming back moments later and securing a kimura.
As a long time fan of MMA, I would have loved to see Fedor compete with the best heavyweights in the UFC, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. Still, "The Last Emperor" will always remain one of my favorites, and an excellent ambassador for the sport of MMA.
Jesse Denis, "Fedor Emelianenko Retires From MMA"
Fight and fighter information from Sherdog.com
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