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24 Jan, 2019 13:45

Russian MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko criticizes Khabib over McGregor brawl (VIDEO)

Russian MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko criticizes Khabib over McGregor brawl (VIDEO)

Heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko has opened up on the infamous cageside brawl that tarnished fellow Russian MMA star Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win over Conor McGregor at UFC 229.

Emelianenko, 42, is preparing for what could well be one last title shot when he faces Ryan Bader in the Bellator Grand Prix final in California this weekend.

READ MORE: Last chance for The Last Emperor? Fedor Emelianenko takes on Ryan Bader for Bellator crown

But ahead of that fight, the giant Russian was asked his thoughts on countryman Khabib, who has emerged as his nation’s MMA talisman following his win over Irish megastar McGregor.

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That victory saw Khabib vault the cage to confront members of McGregor’s team, sparking a brawl for which both fighters are awaiting potentially lengthy bans.

Having previously kept his counsel when asked about the infamous incident, Emelianenko finally offered his thoughts on his fellow Russian’s conduct.

“I had a heavy impression after what I saw,” Emelianenko said in answer to a question on the 'ethics' of Nurmagomedov's actions.

“It must have been an emotional response to what happened,” he added, referring to the toxic build-up to Nurmagomedov’s showdown with the notoriously brash Irishman.

When pressed on whether Khabib’s reaction in vaulting the cage and hurling himself at McGregor coach Dillon Danis was unprofessional, Emelianenko paused before answering: “A professional should remain a professional, and not vent their emotions outside the cage.”

Emelianenko's comments will not tell Nurmagomedov anything he doesn't already know, however.

The UFC lightweight champion himself recently said he was braced for a ban of up to a year over the incident as he awaits a Nevada State Athletic Commission ruling. 

READ MORE: 'A fighter must control his emotions' Khabib says he's facing 1yr ban for McGregor brawl

While Khabib’s immediate future remains uncertain, Emelianenko knows that he is very much nearing the end of his time in the cage.

‘The Last Emperor’ owns a record of 38-5, and famously went unbeaten in 28 fights spanning almost a decade.

But he spoke openly in California about the looming question of retirement following the fight with Bader, 35, at The Forum in Inglewood.   

“To tell the truth, at my age right now, more and more I’m thinking about retiring,” Emelianenko said.

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“And it is not because I don’t want to fight. It’s definitely because of the age and all the injuries that speak.

“There’s been no adjustments, no changes in the training process. But it takes more time to recover,” he added.