Tonight, we saw The Last Emperor fall again. This time, the bout was stopped after the second round by the referee after he determined Fedor could not see out of his swollen right eye. Antonio Silva became the second fighter in a row to defeat Fedor.
After the fight, Gus Johnson spoke to the former pound-for-pound kingpin. During the post-fight interview, Johnson brought up the possibility of retirement.
To paraphrase Fedor's response—"Maybe it is time. Maybe it is God's will." Fedor then went on to say that he has had a long run in the sport and once again stated that maybe his time to retire has come.
Fedor still has three fights left on his Strikeforce contract. If he decides to fight on, who would Scott Coker and M-1 put him up against? Fedor's fight against Werdum was supposed to set up a showdown between Fedor and current champion Alistair Overeem.
When that didn't go to plan, Fedor, Overeem, and Werdum were all placed on the same side of the bracket of the tournament so a Fedor versus Overeem or Werdum match would have the greatest chance of taking place. This time around, it was Antonio Silva who ruined Strikeforce's plans.
After all the money that has been pumped in to promoting Fedor as the greatest fighter on the planet, it's difficult to see Strikeforce putting him against an Andrei Arlovski, Shane del Rosario, or any other up-and-coming or declining heavyweight.
Fedor is a legend in the sport and deserves better than that. If he can't get better than that, maybe it is time to move away from the sport.
I have been openly critical about the quality of opponents Fedor has fought since the demise of PRIDE. Even though I was quick to criticize, I was also quick to give the man his dues. He is one of the best, if not the best, fighters the sport has ever seen.
Love him or hate him, you still respect him. No fighter has ever been held in such regard that someone would go out of their way to photoshop an image to portray him armbarring God.
Should he choose to fight on, hopefully he can find that place he was once at when he was a one-man wrecking crew and rise back to the top of the division.
If he chooses to retire, he will be leaving the sport with his head held high. If this was indeed the last time we saw Fedor in action, we saw him go down guns blazing and refusing to tap when he was put in spots where many lesser men out have cried uncle.
He will also be leaving knowing that he leaves behind a legacy that is unmatched by any other heavyweight fighter ever to compete in MMA.
Play on, Fedor.
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