Bellator president Scott Coker says that Fedor Emelianenko could get a heavyweight title shot against champion Ryan Bader, but a fight against Josh Barnett is more likely.
Emelianenko had one of his most impressive performances in years when he knocked out Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the main event of Bellator Japan. The Russian legend looked fast and powerful in the fight, bouncing back from a first-round knockout loss to Ryan Bader earlier this year in the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Speaking to the media after the event, a reporter asked Coker if Emelianenko could get a rematch against Bader next for the heavyweight belt. Here’s what Coker said.
“I mean, it’s something that would really be up to him, honestly. Like I said, he’s 3-1 with this organization and he looked fantastic tonight. So if it’s something he wanted, we can definitely work towards that. But I’m not sure if that is all that important to him. I haven’t really sat down to talk to him. I just said, ‘Look Fedor, you just rest and take care of your family and we’ll be in touch. Let us know what you want to do and we’ll make it happen,’” Coker said.
Instead of getting a heavyweight title shot against Bader, Coker suggested that Emelianenko is more likely to fight Barnett, who was recently pulled from his fight against Ronny Markes at Bellator Hawaii. Emelianenko and Barnett were scheduled to fight a decade ago in Affliction but the fight fell through. In 2020, the fight could very well finally happen in Bellator.
“The guy who keeps knocking on the door is Josh Barnett. He had an unfortunate situation a week ago in Hawaii. He was sick and I’ve been texting with him. He’s been recovering and getting back. He’d like to fight at the end of January but I told him that’s not going to happen because LA is so booked up. But we’ll get Josh in there. If it’s something Fedor wants to do — and I know Barnett would like to do it because he told me he wants to fight Fedor — maybe we can put that fight together,” Coker said.
Would you rather see Fedor Emelianenko fight Ryan Bader or Josh Barnett next?