Since mythic Russian heavyweight (or overfed middleweight depending on who you ask) Fedor Emelianenko (34-4, 1 NC) has made it known that he’s planning a return to professional mixed martial arts competition, everyone and their mother has been calling him out.
After some consideration, here are the top five Fedor Emelianenko match-ups we would be interested in watching and why (in no particular order) :
1. Mirko Cro Cop (31-11-2, 1 NC) – These two went to war at Pride Final Conflict 2005 with Fedor winning the decision and it was considered “Fight of the Year”. Both Mirko and Fedor are currently on a three-fight win streak, Mirko most recently defeating Gabriel Gonzaga via TKO at UFC Fight Night 64 in April. Cro Cop is 40-years-old. This fight would most likely have to take place in the UFC.
2. Randy Couture (19-11) – It was the UFC heavyweight champ vs. the Pride heavyweight champ. It was the best both had to offer and it was the fight everyone wanted to see. Pride folded but the UFC was unable to sign the Last Emperor and the fight never materialized. Sure Randy is 52 now, but age has never been that much of a factor for “The Natural”. Scott Coker could make this happen and Randy has left the door open.
3. Andrei Arlovski (24-10, 1 NC) – Fedor starched “The Pitbull” at Affliction: Day of Reckoning in 2009 with a punch that knocked Arlovski out of the air as he was coming in with a flying knee. It looked like Fedor had just nuked a buzzard flying overhead. Arlovski was face down and out of it like Charlie Sheen on a bender. Fast forward several years later and Fedor was last seen in 2011 and 2012 fighting guys like Jeff Monson and Pedro Rizzo, while Arlovski has been busy fighting his way to become the number four ranked heavyweight in the UFC. Arlovski has made it clear he wants this one back and it’s definitely one we’d love to see if the UFC can make it happen.
4. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (36-11) – Rampage is a big light heavyweight and could easily fight at heavyweight or catchweight against Fedor. He mostly likes to stand in the pocket and bang it out and this could be a stand up war for the ages with someone going night-night. Rampage last fought at UFC 186 defeating Fabio Maldonado via decision. Before that he was winning in Bellator and is currently on hiatus as the legalities of his contract with them are being worked out in court.
5. Kimbo Slice (5-2) – Like it or not Kimbo is probably Bellator’s biggest star, and we know he’s a slugger. I know it sounds a little crazy and there are some who may say Kimbo doesn’t even deserve to be in the same cage as Fedor, but to that I say, bullshit. The man is 41-years-old and just got done knocking out Ken Shamrock at Bellator 138 last month. Sure, there were claims of fight fixing and Ken taking a dive … but doesn’t that always happen when Shamrock fights? I just think it would be a fun fight, this street-fighting brawler from Miami taking on a Russian demigod. What’s not to love?
6. Tito Ortiz (18-11-1) – “The People’s Champ” has won back-to-back fights since signing with Bellator and is fighting for their light heavyweight title in September. Ortiz is another large light heavyweight who could easily fight Fedor at catchweight or heavyweight. Look, the options for a BIG Fedor fight outside the UFC are limited and Bellator pretty much has the few big (heavier-weight) names out there. Ortiz is a legend. Fedor is a legend. Let’s do it.
Did we miss anyone? Let’s hear your thoughts on who you’d like to see Great One fight.