Fedor Emelianenko has never stepped foot inside the Octagon. The 38-year-old heavyweight icon has seen the likes of Mirko “Cro Cop,” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski, and other prominent names in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). None of those fights were held under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner.
“The Last Emperor” is indeed making his return to MMA after leaving the sport in 2012. The question remains, which organization will be compete for? Bellator may have been a solid guess at first given Emelianenko’s history with the promotion’s president, Scott Coker. The former Strikeforce head, however, hinted at not having the former Pride FC heavyweight champion on his radar.
Last month, “The Last Emperor” revealed he was in negotiations with the UFC. To some, the deal may have already been a lock, but that may not be the case. At a recent UFC 193 press conference, UFC president Dana White talked about Emelianenko’s status with the promotion:
“There is nothing to tell you. If there was, I’d tell you. The Fedor thing has been a mystery for a very long time. We’ve obviously talked to them. I don’t know what they’re doing right now or what their plans are.”
If the Russian stalwart is to make his MMA return inside the Octagon, he certainly won’t have trouble finding a dance partner. Arlovski, who was knocked out by Emelianenko back in 2009, says he would “knock his ass out” in a rematch. There’s also current UFC heavyweight title holder Fabricio Werdum. “Vai Cavalo” shocked the world when he handed “The Last Emperor” the first decisive loss of his career. Werdum says he’d like to give Emelianenko a rematch.