Many an MMA fan found himself disappointed to realize Fedor Emelianenko — arguably the greatest fighter of all time — was not joining the UFC.
After weeks filled with overwhelming speculation indicating Emelianenko’s impending deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship – a move that could have happened once before — “The Last Emperor” pulled a fast one and announced his deal with a new Japanese MMA promotion.
He’ll be fighting on New Year’s Eve against a fighter few mainstream fans are familiar with — a fighter few hardcore fans are familiar with too, for that matter. But despite not taking the big leap many were hoping for, fellow MMA legend Bas Rutten doesn’t think it’s too late to make that leap.
Rutten said on Submission Radio (h/t LowKickMMA):
“We don’t know what kind of contract he has, he’s playing a very smart game. 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. I still feel he has the title of the greatest, I still believe he is the man.”
There’s no word on how long Emelianenko’s contract extends to; but at 39, waiting to have three fights before jumping into the relatively deep waters of the UFC would likely prove itself a difficult feat.