The mixed martial arts (MMA) world was set ablaze yesterday (Tues., July 14, 2015) with the surprising news that legendary former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko was making a return to fighting after leaving the sport behind three years ago.
It’s not yet known where nor against whom ‘The Last Emperor’ will fight when he does come back, but he has supposedly stayed training during his hiatus and has recently resumed intense training to get into fight shape. His longtime manager, M-1 global promoter Vadim Finkelchtein, spoke with BloodyElbow.com to detail Fedor’s return, noting that he tried to get him to come back but had since given up on the prospects:
“It was unexpected. I was trying to convince Fedor to come back for about year or two, but then gave up this idea. And about a week or two ago he told me he is thinking about coming back to sport. I am happy about that.
“I am ready to help him anyway I can. I see that he is mentally ready. All he needs is to train hard. He remained in good shape all those years but it will still take some time to be ready to fight.”
Together with Emelianenko, Finkelchtein is pegged as the main reason that ‘The Last Emperor’ never came to fight with the UFC, as a proposed bout with former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar fell apart when negotiations crumbled. Both the UFC and MMA as a whole have changed dramatically since that time, yet Finkelchtein said that while Fedor’s first opponent is unknown, he still believes his world-famous client can take on any Top 10-ranked challenger in the world:
“There is no information about time and place of his first fight for now. And there is no information about possible opponent. But I am sure he is able to fight any Top 10 world heavyweight.”
Despite the unlikelihood of Emelianenko signing with the UFC, it’s clear that if he and his team want to fight a true Top 10-ranked challenge, they’re going to have to squash their beef and negotiate with White. While that would be a dream come true for fans of his action-packed era, the possibility just seems miniscule at this point.
The odds are probably more likely that Fedor signs with Bellator, where he’s been seen at media and fight events, but anything can happen when the amount of money that Emelianenko commands begins to be thrown around.
We’ll have all of the latest news on updates on this developing story as it arises; so keep your eyes peeled on LowKickMMA.com and cast your vote on where you think Fedor should fight in his return bout!