Fedor Emelianenko admits he won’t leave MMA behind after retirement similar to Khabib Nurmagomedov: “This sport is in my blood”

By Josh Evanoff - February 3, 2023

Bellator heavyweight contender Fedor Emelianenko is retiring from MMA, but he’ll be around.

Fedor Emelianenko

‘The Last Emperor’ is slated to make the final walk this Saturday against Ryan Bader. The pair will headline Bellator 290, in a rematch for the heavyweight gold. ‘Darth’ previously knocked out the legend in the finals of the heavyweight Grand Prix in 2019.

Ahead of his final fight, the PRIDE legend is insistent he will never compete again following Bellator 290. While other MMA stars, such as Luke Rockhold, have retired but quickly unretired to seek other opportunities, Emelianenko doesn’t see himself doing that.

However, he doesn’t also envision his retirement being similar to Khabib Nurmagomedov. ‘The Eagle’ retired from MMA in 2020, but stayed around as a coach and managed EFC. Last year, Nurmagomedov suddenly retired again, but this time planned to leave MMA entirely.

That won’t be the case for Fedor Emelianenko, as he revealed in a pre-fight press conference for Bellator 290. There, the PRIDE legend stated that the sport is in his blood, and he still has the knowledge to pass on to younger fighters that he coaches.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

“Of course, I’ll be involved still because I have my team,” Emelianenko explained at the Bellator 290 pre-fight press conference. “These guys are like family to me. No matter what’s going to happen, I’ll be next to them all the time. I will try to do my best and help them in any way I can. All my life I was in sport. The sport is part of my life.” (h/t MMA Fighting)

“This is Khabib’s decision,” Emelianenko continued. “That’s his choice. We spend so much time outside of our families because of the sport in [training] camps, sometimes you call it quits, and that’s it, especially when you have young kids and they’re waiting for you.”

“No matter what I’m going to do, I’m still going to share my experience, all my knowledge,” he said. “No matter what I’m going to do, I’m going to have different hobbies, whatever is going to be happening, no matter what I’m still going to be with my team because the sport is in my blood.”

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Bellator Fedor Emelianenko Khabib Nurmagomedov