Fedor Emelianenko carries Olympic torch towards Sochi 2014 games

The retired MMA legend was honored as a 'Merited Master of Sport'

Esther Lin/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko remains one of the few top fighters in MMA history to never have competed inside the UFC Octagon, but he did receive an honor this week that few fighters will ever get — he carried the Olympic torch for his home country.

Emelianenko was part of the festivities in his home country of Russia this week where he helped carry the Olympic torch into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The former heavyweight king retired from MMA in 2012 and is still widely considered one of the greatest fighters of all time.

According to Russian news outlet Rianovosti, Emelianenko held the honor of ‘Merited Master of Sport’ for the lighting ceremony while he carried the torch towards its final destination.

Emelianenko was a favorite of Russian president Vladimir Putin during his fighting days.  The Russian dignitary regularly attended Emelianenko’s fights, and after his career was over he even dabbled in politics as an elected representative from his area.   He’s also served as a staff member on Russia’s Council of Physical Fitness and Sports.

The opening ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi kick off on Feb 7.