Japan’s DREAM event held on New Year’s eve is over, and all reports are that Fedor Emelianenko was overwhelming in his KO victory over Japanese Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii. Once acknowledged as the top fighter in the world, three losses in a row sent Fedor’s legacy into a tailspin. If he retires now, he will still preserve a revered place in the history of MMA. If he continues fighting, his only truth path to regain top status is to sign with the UFC, but with that reward comes risk. What will Fedor do now that he has rattled off two wins in a row?
Fedor is virtually out of money making options in MMA outside of the UFC. His promoter’s M-1 Global group is unlikely to get him the pay days he is used to. Word from insiders in Japan indicate that Fedor took a drastically reduced fee to fight Ishii. The Japanese are highly unlikely to call for Fedor again, until perhaps next New Year’s eve.
My reference in the picture caption, to Fedor’s career ending like Dan Severn‘s is a bit of an exaggeration , but there is no way back to the top of the MMA world one more time for Fedor, other than signing a contract to fight in the UFC.
Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin, Roy Nelson, Frank Mir. take your pick, all would make for interesting, tough fights with ‘The Last Emperor’. Despite his fall from the top, and the penchant to belittle his accomplishments that has built up around the cult of Dana White, Fedor is still a highly skilled competitor who has the potential to defeat anyone of those upper echelon UFC Heavyweights at any time.
Fedor is a draw, built upon his time in PRIDE, where his legend was born, and his time on SHOWTIME with Strikeforce, where he became well known in the United States. Should he win that debut bout, I would rush him right into a title shot. Should he lose, I would milk him for one more bout with someone like Matt Mitrione or Brendan Schaub before cutting him.
The UFC really needs to make this happen, as it will add to their depth in a critical weight class, and it will show that they are not the holders of a grudge that many claim them to be. Fedor needs to do this, because it makes no sense for him to be fighting anywhere but at the highest level.