(Long Island, N.Y.) Mixed martial arts fans have been hearing about the potential of Fedor Emelianenko coming to the UFC for years, so forgive them if they remain skeptical. A little jaded, they have the “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude when it comes to the Russian heavyweight coming to the top MMA organization in the world.
But that may all be in the past with this week’s recent developments concerning “The Last Emperor.” First, UFC president Dana White said in a video clip making the rounds on YouTube that the man simply known as Fedor has become his “obsession.”
When the interviewer from Fanhouse/MMA Fighting.com asked White when he last spoke to Fedor’s representatives, the outspoken mastermind replied, “More recent than you think.” White also stressed that he has never tampered with fighters who are still under contract by other organizations and was very coy about Fedor’s current status with StrikeForce/M-1 Global.
Then on Thursday morning, UFC color commentator Joe Rogan added more information during an interview on SiriusXM satellite radio. During a segment on the “Opie and Anthony” show, Rogan – who is also a stand-up comedian – was discussing when the unified heavyweight title fight between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin is tentatively scheduled for.
“It will be July 3, unless Lesnar fights Fedor.”
That bombshell led to Rogan adding that White brings the fans the fights they want to see and a contest between the two big men would be a dream match come true. “I would say the odds (of Fedor coming to the UFC) are 50/50,” he said. “With the Russian promoters, they’re tough to deal with. Anyone else and the odds would be 100 percent.”
Fedor, 33, has been fighting professionally for a decade now and is regarded as still being undefeated, although he has an “official” record of 31-1-0. His only listed defeat was of the controversial variety when Tsuyosji Kohasaka was awarded a TKO victory. In that December 2000 PRIDE fight in Japan, Fedor suffered a deep cut early in the first round and the bout was stopped.
With only five fights under his belt, Lesnar may have much less experience but is 45 pounds heavier than Fedor. This wasn’t the case last fall when the 32-year-old Minnesota native came down with a sever case of diverticulitis. He suffered a perforated intestine, which caused him a laundry list of ailments. Lesnar required surgery and had lost a total of 40 pounds during his ordeal.
In January, Lesnar and White appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter and stated that he had recovered and was back in training. At the time, Lesnar had put back on 30 pounds and appeared to look healthy, strong and confident.
Because he was the UFC Heavyweight Champion when he went down, an interim title was decided when Carwin defeated Frank Mir at UFC 111 in March. The plan at the time was for Lesnar to face Carwin to determine the champ, but with the specter of Fedor lurking, Carwin may get pushed to the side.
There are obviously some major issues that need to be addressed before a Lesnar-Fedor fight can take place, but don’t sell White short.