Only a little more than a month before Fedor Emelianenko’s return to mixed martial arts, and most on the outside looking in are still left in the dark on who “The Last Emperor” may be fighting when he steps into the cage.
Previously rumored to face Jaideep Singh or Tsuyoshi Kosaka, former PRIDE boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara and his team have since denied the matchups, saying they’re still weighing their options.
“So far, we have not decided on the final decision,” Sakakibara said to Tass.ru (h/t Bloody Elbow). “There are a number of candidates before us, but we want to choose the most worthy. Now the whole world is watching the news hoping to learn at last the name of Fedor’s opponent.
“Please wait a little more.”
Emelianenko has not fought since a 2012 KO victory over Pedro Rizzo. He went 3-0 to cap off his career while fighting under DREAM and M-1 Global. Prior to that winning streak, Emelianenko suffered three straight losses to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Dan Henderson.
The submission loss to Werdum ended an eight-year unbeaten streak for “The Last Emperor,” that included victories over legends like Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Mark Hunt, Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski.
The former PRIDE heavyweight first announced his comeback to MMA earlier this summer. He was reportedly weighing his options of potential employers before announcing he’d be reuniting with Sakakibara to compete under the Rizin Fighting Federation.
He’s set to compete on Dec. 31 in the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.