Emelianenko is widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight of all time and one of the best mixed martial artists to have ever competed in the sport. In 47 professional fights, “The Last Emperor” boasts 40 wins, 31 one of which came via stoppages, and defeated the likes of Heath Herring, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Coleman, Mirko Cro Cop, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, and Frank Mir.
At the age of 45, the former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion is incredibly still competing. After almost two years away from action following his first-round TKO victory over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in 2019, Fedor headlined Bellator‘s first Russian-held event on October 23.
In front of his home fans, Fedor faced the #3-ranked Bellator heavyweight Tim Johnson. In just under two minutes of the opening round, Johnson was sent to the canvas by a brutal combination. Whilst many had been sceptical about the Fedor we’d see in Moscow, the answer was provided in a vicious and powerful way.
Cormier Thinks “The Last Emperor” Should Leave On A High
One thing Fedor’s latest victory led to was increased criticism towards former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cormier. Ahead of Bellator 269, “DC” had suggested the 45-year-old would have been “average at best” if he’d have joined the UFC between 2009 and 2012. During that period, Fedor suffered losses at the hands of Fabricio Werdum, Antônio Silva, and Dan Henderson. His loss to “Vai Cavalo” brought to an end a 28-fight unbeaten streak that lasted almost a decade.
Having clarified his comments and reiterated the respect he has for Fedor, Cormier further praised “The Last Emperor” during an interaction with the media ahead of UFC 267. Addressing the comparisons fans often drew between the pair, the UFC color commentator described it as a “privilege” to be talked about in the same breath as Fedor.
“When I started fighting, Fedor was everywhere, he was the man. And he was the guy who didn’t look like a bodybuilder, he was fast, he could knock people out, and I took it as a privilege (to be compared to him). It meant a ton to me. To see this dude doing what he’s doing now is crazy. Fedor’s 45 years old, knocking people out.”
Talk of Fedor’s possible retirement was prevalent heading into Bellator 269. Despite the first-round triumph, Cormier believes it’s the right time for the veteran to call an end to his illustrious career. According to “DC,” securing a KO win in Moscow has provided a “fairytale” ending for the Russian legend.
“Fedor should stop now though, it’s like a fairytale… to go into Moscow and get a knockout in the way that he did. Just walk away man. Because otherwise the shit’s gonna end bad. You’ll be like everyone else; end up on your back and that’ll be like the story that we have seen a thousand times with great champions. Right now’s the time for that storybook ending. I just don’t know if these great champions can avoid that pull that tells them they can do it again and be who they were back in the day.”
Despite his age, Fedor isn’t set on calling it quits just yet. In the aftermath of his 40th professional victory, the GOAT contender said his future was yet to be decided, and wouldn’t be until he’d had conversations with his family and Bellator kingpin Scott Coker.
Do you agree with Daniel Cormier? Should Fedor Emelianenko retire off the back of his Bellator 269 victory?