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Fedor Emelianenko considering retirement from MMA: ‘We will see’

The Russian heavyweight legend was non-committal about his future plans in the world of mixed martial arts.

Esther Lin / MMA Fighting

Fedor Emelianenko, arguably the greatest heavyweight in mixed martial arts history, is contemplating retirement.

The legendary Russian fighter was non-committal about the next stage in his professional career, choosing instead to leave his options open. However, he did hint that the end may be drawing near.

“My career - we will wait, we will see, you will soon find out everything, age will make itself felt,” Fedor told Russian media. “Injuries have accumulated over the years of the career.”

Bellator president Scott Coker was also uncertain about Emelianenko’s future plans but seemed open to the idea of a “victory tour” for the former champion. He even suggested Josh Barnett as a potential opponent, calling back to the fight that fell through between the two heavyweight in 2009.

“I haven’t talked to Fedor about anything,” Coker told “Because he’s been in Moscow, but I will be sitting down with him in Chicago. And I’m going to ask him, you know, say ‘what are your plans, what do you want to do?’ Because if [he] would like to continue, I would love to put together a tour for him and maybe, you know, fight in Japan one time, fight here in the US, fight in Moscow. And we would promote all of them and have like a victory tour like a victory lap. But he might say, ‘No, I’m not interested, I’m just going to go work for the government,’ or not working… I don’t know what his plans are. So in a couple of weeks, I’ll have a clear direction of what he wants to do.”

Emelianenko, 42, previously announced his retirement in 2012 following a knockout victory against Pedro Rizzo at an M-1 event in St. Petersburg. He returned three years later to defeat Singh Jaideep at the Rizin World Grand Prix show. Overall, Emelianenko has compiled a 4-2 record since his return to the cage, which includes victories against former UFC champion Frank Mir and title contender Chael Sonnen to reach the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix final. However, Emelianenko failed to capture the vacant heavyweight title and was knocked out by Ryan Bader in 35 seconds in January 2019.