Reports have surfaced online that former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko is training for a possible return to active competition in MMA. The story was first reported by Union MMA, a Russian MMA news outlet.
“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”, Emeliankenko told the website.
Emeliankenko was last seen by North American fans back in 2011 when he lost via knockout to Dan Henderson under the Strikeforce banner. After the loss to Henderson, the “Last Emperor” went on two fight three additional time, once in Japan and twice in his homeland of Russia. His last bout was in 2012 which was a KO win over Pedro Rizzo.
“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).”
The likely frontrunner to sign Fedor would be Bellator MMA. President Scott Coker was the one who brought Fedor into Strikeforce and has had the fighter take part in multiple events for Bellator outside of the cage. The UFC may be a long shot to sign Fedor but with more events taking place every year they may take a gamble in hopes of having another name to add to its marquee.
“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.”