MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko announces he is returning to the ring

Fedor Emelianenko (RIA Novosti/Vadim Zhernov)
The retired Russian mixed martial arts fighter Fedor Emelianenko says he is considering returning to the ring, with the 38 year-old mentioning he is leaving his position as an advisor to the Russian sports ministry, according to TASS.

Nicknamed the ‘Last Emperor,’ Emelianenko is widely considered to be one of the greatest athletes the sport has ever seen. However, following a three-year absence from MMA, he has decided now might be the time to return to competitive action.

"It's extremely important for any athlete to do what you love, to work out during training sessions and to prove yourself in competition, while representing your country," Emelianenko said in the statement published on the website of the Russian MMA organization.

"I've been working at the ministry of sport and I have managed to help with the development of martial arts. I have helped out sports federations and have learnt about problems in our sport and tried to solve them as best as I could. Now I feel it’s high time to get back into action,” he added.

It is unknown who the ‘Last Emperor’ may possibly fight in a comeback, though his return would be highly anticipated within the world of MMA.

We are now in the middle of negotiations with promotion companies. Once we have reached an agreement, there will be information about the date of the fight and who my opponent will be,” the 38 year-old said.

He also said that he hopes his return will be a way “to help other fighters to grow as professionals.”

Emelianenko is a multiple MMA world champion across different organizations. He won 34 professional fights with only four losses and one draw – which is an absolute record for the sport. In just under a decade between December 22, 2000 and June 26, 2010 he was unbeaten in 28 fights.

However, between 2010 and 2012, he suffered three defeats, which led him to doubt his form. Three victories soon followed, but by then Emelianenko decided it was time to retire.

"I managed to recover from my old injuries. For the last three years I have been maintaining my physical shape, but that's still not enough to compete at the highest level. Therefore I started to train more intensively recently. We have a good team who will help me to prepare for the fight," Emelianenko added.

Aside from MMA, the ‘Last Emperor’ is also a four-time sambo world champion and won a bronze medal at the Russian judo championships.