Legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko is apparently plotting a return to mixed martial arts, which once again opens the door to a possible fight in the UFC.
Emelianenko is considered the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time while he made his name fighting in Japan as part of PRIDE Fighting Championships. During his undefeated run that lasted for eight years, Emelianenko ran roughshod over the best of the best in the heavyweight division.
The Russian icon retired following his last win over Pedro Rizzo in 2012 and it appeared he was ready to settle into retirement for good until a recent interview surfaced from Union MMA.
Article continues below ...
"For every athlete it is very important to be able to engage in their favorite thing, give all the best in training, performing in competitions, defending the honor of the motherland. Now I feel that it is time to return to the ring," Emelianenko said. "I was able to recover and heal old wounds. The last three years I have maintained the physical form, but this level is not enough to go into battle.
"Therefore recently I started intensive training. We have assembled a team of versatile coaches and athletes who will help me in the training process. Negotiations are underway with (promotions). Once agreements are reached, there will be information on the date of the fight and (opponent)."
Ever since Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, purchased PRIDE in 2007, the promotion sought to bring Emelianenko into the fold. But the two parties could never reach a deal. There was even a proposed megafight that would have matched up Emelianenko with Brock Lesnar for a bout that would have taken place inside AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Texas, but a deal could never be brokered.
UFC president Dana White has addressed the Emelianenko situation several times in the past after he was unable to close the deal with the Russian fighter and his management team.
"I have done so much to try to get Fedor in the UFC," White said back in 2012. "You know how I am, especially when I say it publically, like this is an obsession, I’ve got to get this thing done, and tried to get it done."
As of now there’s been no word on whether or not Emelianenko has contacted the UFC or vice versa, but his potential return has definitely sparked interest in taking one last shot at him fighting in the Octagon.
Considering the thriving heavyweight division in the UFC right now, Emelianenko joining the promotion would still be a massive land for the promotion. But it’s hard to say if the two sides could come to an agreement now when they couldn’t get it done during so many previous negotiations.