The final fight of Fedor Emelianenko’s career took place Thursday night as he knocked out Pedro Rizzo in Russia. There was speculation, but Fedor said after the fight that he was retired. Fedor walked away with a 34-4 (1nc) record that included victories over Rizzo, Jeff Monson, Andre Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, Mark Hunt, Mark Coleman, Mirko Cro Cop, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Kevin Randleman. The biggest knock on his career was that he fought a lot of guys when they didn’t matter. A long-desired fight with Randy Couture never materialized and he never made it to the UFC.
Fedor’s time in Strikeforce was notable, but only because of the epic failure. Fedor hadn’t lost in 10 years when he got triangled by Fabricio Werdum in June 2010. He proceeded to lose to Bigfoot Silva and Dan Henderson. Even in his Strikeforce run, he never fought Alistair Overeem, the one guy everyone wanted him to fight.
For more than a decade, Fedor’s name cast a shadow on mixed martial arts. No discussion of the top fighters was complete without debating where he was in the pound for pound rankings. To Fedor’s credit, he retired on his own terms and with a win. That’s something a lot of combat sport legends can’t say.