Speculation grew rampant after Bellator announced the return of Fedor Emelianenko later this year, and although an opponent has not been revealed, the list of options appears to have some big names on it.
The promotion confirmed on Friday morning that Emelianenko will headline an event Oct. 23 in Moscow, Russia against an opponent to be determined. Of course, the fantasy matchmaker in everyone had some names in mind. Following Bellator 261, Scott Coker spoke with members of the media and was asked about potential opponents for “The Last Emperor.”
“There is a long laundry list of people who have raised their hands to come fight Fedor in Russia,” Coker said. “I’m sure you guys all know the names that have been thrown out there. We’re gonna evaluate it and I’m going to talk to Fedor [Saturday] morning to see what he’s thinking. I know what he’s going to say — ‘You guys pick it out’ — but I think we should let him go home, think about it [and] talk to his coaches.
“The managers of all the free agents are calling,” Coker continued. “Josh Barnett was texting me today. I’ve talked to [Junior dos Santos’] manager a couple of days ago, Alistair Overeem, the list goes on and on and on. There’s a lot [of names] that could be a possibility, but we’ll figure it out. Like I said, there’s a long list of guys who want to compete against the greatest heavyweight of all-time, and if I was those guys I’d be raising my hand too.”
The 44-year-old Emelianenko has won three of his last four — all first-round finishes — including victories over Quinton Jackson, Chael Sonnen, and Frank Mir.
According to Emelianenko, two fights remain on his current contract. Asked about his future plans, he mentioned that he expects his final fight to likely take place in the U.S. or Russia.
In regards to when a decision could be made on who will be standing across the cage from Emelianenko this fall, Coker believes that fans won’t have to wait very long to find out the answer.
“It’ll probably take a week or two to figure this out,” he said, “but after that it’s going to be game on.”