Bellator 214: Fedor Emelianenko Non-Committal on Retirement Question

Fedor Emelianenko is a tough egg to crack, and he proved that once again when asked about retirement ahead of Bellator 214 in L.A.

Los Angeles, CA — Fedor Emelianenko remains an enigma. Nearly unreadable most of the time. A legend in the cage, even after a string of losses under Strikeforce that should have shattered much of his mystique. And now, at 42, the Russian finds himself in the final of a major tournament. Bellator’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix. A win would set him up to exit the sport on top — but ‘The Last Emperor’ was characteristically cagey on the retirement question.

“Every fight in my career was a very important fight, but this very fight is the most important, and that’s the final of the grand prix tournament,” he said of the upcoming bout against Ryan Bader on Wednesday, at the Bellator 214 open workouts.

It’s a level of success few saw coming at this point of Emelianenko’s career. Even for the fighter himself.

“I didn’t anticipate [it], I try not to anticipate,” Fedor answered when asked if he had foreseen this level of success when he returned from a brief retirement in 2015.

Cageside Press asked the Russian legend whether he would consider calling it a career following the fight on Saturday. Via his interpreter, Fedor replied that “I think I will be able to answer this very question after the fight. After the fight, I will have some time out to rest a little bit.”

When asked if retirement had been on his mind, he said simply “this is what I’m thinking.”

“To tell the truth, at my age right now, more and more I’m thinking about retirement,” Emelianenko asked when pressed. “And it is not because I don’t want to fight,” he added. “It is definitely because of the age, you know, and old injuries that I have.”

With all that said, Bellator 214 on Saturday could be the last battle for ‘The Last Emperor.’ Which makes it a fight not to be missed.