Fedor Emelianenko's comeback trail has come to a spectacular ending. Moments after knocking out former UFC title contender Pedro Rizzo, Emelianenko announced to the world that his days in mixed martial arts have come to an end.
The fight lasted only 84 seconds, and Emelianenko was in control the entire time. Despite pushing forward, Rizzo looked uncomfortable from the get-go. The former PRIDE champion was unconcerned as he waited to unload.
When all was said and done, The Last Emperor shared in joyous hugs with his family and friends and took the microphone. For onlookers who do not speak Russian, it appeared to be little more than a victory speech. However, LowKick.com has translated the words of Emelianenko:
I think it's time. 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...There's no 'fantastic' offer that could tempt me out of retirement. I'm retiring to spend more time with my family.
Many believed that Fedor was lucky enough to benefit from overmatched opponents during his final years. Others would accuse him of ducking the elite fighters in the UFC after he and management M-1 Global elected to sign with Strikeforce back in 2009.
Stoppage losses to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson sent Fedor spiraling out of the organization, and gave support to the argument that The Last Emperor didn't have what it takes to compete with the best.
After his less-than-spectacular run in Strikeforce, many pundits begged Emelianenko to call it quits and get out before he did too much damage to his legacy. Thankfully, he didn't listen.
Emelianenko retires now with the momentum of three wins. Two of those wins came over UFC title contenders Jeff Monson and Pedro Rizzo, while the third came over Olympic judoka Satoshi Ishii.
With his recent upswing, Fedor Emelianenko gets to ride off into the sunset with his head held high. Very few fighters are able to get out of MMA while they are still capable of being competitive at a high level. Considering that Emelianenko may go down as the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time, his ability to turn things around will forever play an important role when discussing his legacy.