Fedor Emelianenko took his fans on a roller coaster ride of emotions when he announced he would be coming out of retirement earlier this year. People expected “The Last Emperor” to sign with Bellator, but the possibility of seeing him duke it out with the best in the octagon piqued diehard and casual fans’ interests alike. At “DYNAMITE”, Emelianenko revealed that he would be fighting for a new Japanese promotion on New Year’s Eve, rather than an American based promotion like Bellator or UFC.
Fans and fighters were let down even further when it was rumored that he would be facing a heavyweight who only has one fight to his name. While fans have already dismissed the possibility of Emelianenko ever stepping foot in the octagon, former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten stated he thinks Fedor could eventually make a run at the big title.
“We don’t know what kind of contract he has, he’s playing a very smart game,” Rutten told Submission Radio. “He didn’t fight for a while, he got over his injuries, and he’s like ‘OK, if I fight in the UFC, maybe they are going to throw me to the wolves right away.’ So maybe this is just a warm up, maybe he fights three times, we don’t know, maybe after that he is free from his contract. If he feels strong enough then hopefully he will go to the UFC.”
Emelianenko put his legacy to the test when he made the move to Strikeforce where he brutally knocked out Brett Rogers in his debut fight. Since that fight, however, he lost to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Dan Henderson and Fabricio Werdum. After Strikeforce closed down, he made the move back to fighting away from American soil.
“He doesn’t need the money, he has more than enough money. That money he made in Japan was enough to last generations, so he is fighting because he loves the sport. It’s like when you play football, you want to end up in the NFL. In order to get true recognition you need to go there (UFC), they have the best fighters in the world. Yeah (I think he cares about going to the UFC to cement his legacy), once he fights a few fights and wins, I hope he is going to come for the UFC title.”