He was a great champion. And he belonged somewhere on the P4P list considering that he's a small HW fighting well out of his weight class. Unfortunately, fighting in Japan is not the same as fighting in the west at the highest level. He probably won't retire (people who reach that level in their chosen sport usually "retire" multiple times). However, he will be labeled 'passed-his-prime' from now on, and old, despite being physically well within in his prime and competing in a sport where many champions and top-contenders are his age and older. That's just what happens to Pride elites. They dominate in Japan, then come over and struggle, and are suddenly declared to be passed-their-prime (only a couple Pride fighters, out of the entire organization, were able to successfully transition).
It will go down as one of the all time great blunders in sports history that he turned down that $30m 6 fight UFC contract with a guaranteed immediate title shot. Oops. Shame that such a nice guy was so horribly mismanaged. M-1 Global are the new Don King.
Click to view image: 'fedor'
|Liveleak on Facebook|