'Conor should watch his mouth': Russian MMA legend Emelianenko issues brutal putdown to McGregor
Russian MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko says notorious Irish trash-talker Conor McGregor should “watch his tongue,” in a scathing assessment of the UFC star’s conduct as the heavyweight icon opened up on the state of the sport.
Veteran Emelianenko, 42, is preparing for what could be his swansong against American Ryan Bader in the Bellator Grand Prix final in California this weekend.
Ahead of the fight, the man known as ‘The Last Emperor’ – widely considered as among the greatest heavyweights ever to enter the cage – had words of warning about the toxic insults increasingly dished out by some fighters, including McGregor.
“Personally, I don’t like what McGregor is doing. He needs to watch his mouth,” Emelianenko said in a scathing attack on the Irishman.
The typcially taciturn heavyweight urged promotions to make it clear what should not be tolerated in trash-talk among fighters, citing insults towards someone’s country and family as no-go areas.
Emelianenko reiterated his belief that countryman Khabib Nurmagomedov shouldn’t have reacted the way he did after submitting McGregor in the fourth round of their UFC lightweight title fight in October, after which the Russian vaulted the cage and launched himself at a member of the Irishman’s team.
“[Khabib] should have just taken the microphone and said who McGregor is and where he belongs,” Emelianenko said.
Asked about his own relationship with Nurmagomedov, 30, Emelianenko said that in reality he was not on close terms with his fellow MMA star.
“As a person I practically don’t know him. I’ve met him, we talked a little. I formed the impression of a cultured, positive fighter. As a sportsman he’s a UFC champion – that’s a [high] level,” he said.
Preparations for Emelianenko’s own bout against Bader at The Forum in Inglewood on Saturday night have faced rumors that the Russian is suffering from health problems.
However, the fighter himself moved to quell any fears, telling media: “I feel good, I don’t [have any health issues], thank god, everything’s OK.”
Emelianenko also confirmed that Saturday’s title shot would be his last fight under his current contract with Bellator.
He has also been open that his thoughts are now fixed on retirement, after a career in which he has racked up a professional record of 38 wins in 43 fights – including a near decade-long unbeaten streak at the start of the century.
“To tell the truth, at my age right now, more and more I’m thinking about retiring,” Emelianenko said earlier in the week.
“And it’s not because I don’t want to fight. It’s definitely because of the age and all the injuries.
“There’s been no adjustments, no changes in the training process. But it takes more time to recover,” he added.
Should Saturday night be the last bow for the ‘The Last Emperor’, he will go down as one of the sport’s greatest whatever happens – even if McGregor and Co. are unlikely to heed his words to curb their trash-talk any time soon.Also on rt.com Last chance for The Last Emperor? Fedor Emelianenko takes on Ryan Bader for Bellator crown