All-time great Fedor Emelianenko recently sent the MMA world’s jaw agape when he confirmed he would be returning to fighting. It was unknown for which promotion and against whom ‘The Last Emperor’ would fight, but it was plain to see that the biggest bouts for the former Pride FC heavyweight champion are now in the UFC octagon.
With previous negotiations infamously gone sour, it was somewhat of another surprise to hear Fedor’s manger Vadim Finkelchtein say that an imminent deal with the UFC was actually a big possibility. True to form, UFC president Dana White kept it cool with his usual ‘we’ll see what happens’ response.
That left a lot of interpretation up in the air for Emelianenko’s return, but if his latest plan is any indication, he could be headed for an absolutely massive return, and it would have to be for the UFC. During an appearance in a Q&A session on a Russian youth forum (via Bloody Elbow), ‘The Last Emperor’ clarified that his ideal return bout would be against current UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum.
Not surprisingly, Emelianenko would understandably like to avenge his previous shocking 2010 loss to Werdum, which, at the time, ended his unprecedented 10-year unbeaten streak. It’s undeniable that with recent wins over Cain Velasquez, Mark Hunt, and Travis Browne, Kings MMA product Werdum is fighting on an all-new level right now.
As for the 38-year-old Emelianenko, it’s tough to say the same thing as he’s been out of the cage for three years. He also ended his career by defeating three straight opponents that weren’t necessarily of UFC caliber after three consecutive disheartening losses to Werdum, Antonio Silva, and Dan Henderson under the Strikeforce banner.
But ‘The Last Emperor’ was recently spotted looking in excellent shape, and a rematch with Werdum in the UFC would undoubtedly be one of, if not the, biggest heavyweight fights of all-time, so now it’s on the UFC to get the ball rolling and finalize negotiations with Emelianenko and his team.
Is this the fight they should make for the sheer drawing power alone, or would Fedor be biting off more than he could chew after so much time away from the game?