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One last time for ‘The Last Emperor’? Bellator eyes Moscow swansong for MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko

One last time for ‘The Last Emperor’? Bellator eyes Moscow swansong for MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko
Russian MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko could step into the cage for one last time for a rematch against fellow heavyweight great Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipović – that’s if plans by Bellator president Scott Coker come to fruition.

Emelianenko, 42, suffered a first-round defeat to Ryan Bader at the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Final in California at the end of January, which was the Russian’s last fight on his contract with the promotion.

Much of the talk heading into that contest had focused on Emelianenko’s retirement from a sport in which he has firmly etched his status as an all-time great.

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‘The Last Emperor’ himself openly spoke about calling time on his near two-decade career, and said he would need time to reassess where his future lay following the defeat to Bader.

But Bellator boss Coker is eyeing one last outing for Emelianenko, with a potential repeat of his 2005 fight against Croat Cro Cop, 44, which came in Japan’s PRIDE promotion, being among the options.

Cro Cop last fought at Bellator 216 at the weekend, earning a unanimous decision win over Roy Nelson.

“I always said if [Emelianenko] wanted to do one in Russia or fight one in Japan before he moved on and retired, I think that would be something that would be a lot of fun to do for us,” Coker said, according to MMA Junkie.

“And especially if he wanted to do it in Moscow. I know Mirko wants to avenge that fight [which he lost via decision]; his management has asked me repeatedly about it. But it’s something I have to talk to Fedor about,” Coker added.

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Emelianenko has acquired legendary status during his career, racking up a record of 38 wins and six losses, and going on a near decade-long unbeaten streak at the start of the century.

Whether he would be tempted to do battle one last time on home soil, we’ll have to wait and see.