Fedor Emelianenko explains why fighting Tim Johnson over Junior dos Santos was the ‘obvious choice’

Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor Emelianenko is set for his return fight in Russia as he will headline Bellator 269 against Tim Johnson.

When Bellator announced Emelianenko would be fighting at home for the final time, many thought he would face a legend. The likes of Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, and Josh Barnett all expressed interest but in the end, Emelianenko picked Johnson. According to the Russian, he says it was an obvious choice to face Johnson.

“Tim Johnson had quite a winning streak going on,” Emelianenko said at media day. “That obviously shows he’s quite a good fighter. Fighting someone who is spearheading the (division) is always a great opportunity…

“Aside from Tim Johnson, Dos Santos, for example, had a serious streak of losses alongside. He was also fighting for the UFC, as well. That is why I don’t think it would’ve been much suitable to fight him compared to Tim Johnson,” Emelianenko later added. “Not to mention the fact that Bellator came up with a bunch of options and Tim was the obvious choice.”

Fedor Emelianneko has not fought since December of 2019 where he knocked out Quinton Jackson. The victory got him back into the win column after suffering a 35-second KO loss to Ryan Bader for the heavyweight title and the heavyweight grand prix belt. In his last four, however, he is 3-1.

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Although Emelianenko is 45-years-old, he still plans to fight one more time after Saturday. The plan was to have his retirement fight in the United States, but the Russian wouldn’t confirm anything ahead of Bellator 269.

“Sport is sport and the results of this fight will not change my opinion. They will not influence my opinion in any way because sport is sport and my life plans are my life plans, which I will not change,” Emelianenko concluded.

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