Following Fedor Emelianenko’s first-round knockout over Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, many suspected it would be the final fight to conclude a storied career. Emelianenko is undefeated in 13 bouts at Saitama — including nostalgic victories against Kevin Randleman, Mirko Cro Cop and Mark Coleman.
Saitama was the ideal location for a final curtain call and in his post-fight speech Emelianenko seemingly retired.
“Unfortunately and regretfully, I want to say that perhaps my career stops here on my win in Japan, and thank you very much,” Emelianenko told the audience (transcription by MMA Fighting)
However, for the 43-year-old MMA legend it seems that this was just an error in translation.
Following the post-fight media scrum, Emelianenko’s translator was quick to own up to the miscommunication and provided clarification.
“So for Japan that was the win and retirement fight in Japan. So he’s not retiring, I take responsibility. Sorry if I didn’t translate it. I don’t want things to be read out of context.”
Emelianenko’s plan for retirement currently covers two more fights, with possible locations being the United States and Russia. Fedor will likely complete his career with Bellator MMA, but that all depends on how he recovers from an undisclosed injury and discussing next steps with his family.
“Right now there is an injury. So for this day, that is his plan, so two more fights but we will see how he feels, how he recovers and everything else,” Emelianenko’s translator explained. “[Emelianenko] wants to spend time with his family, and then he wants to get back with Bellator and discuss with them [a timeline for upcoming bouts].”
However, it should be noted upon being asked if he had one more fight in the United States and a final fight in Russia, Emelianenko responded in a non-committal fashion — simply stating in English, “we’ll see.”
‘The Last Emperor’ is no stranger to retirement, having retired in 2012 and contemplating re-retirement in 2019 following a devastating knockout loss to Ryan Bader. While this may not be it for arguably one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, fight fans can expect the final farewell to come relatively soon.