With his win over Jeff Monson in M-1 Global last weekend, Fedor Emelianenko got back in the winner's column after three straight Strikeforce loses. He also showed a somewhat modified approach to the game, with an emphasis on striking, gameplan, and, above all else, caution.
After the win, it was only natural that questions would surface about where Fedor goes from here. And, just as it has so many times before with Fedor, the idea of an Emelianenko run in the UFC surfaced. M-1 Global's Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan took to twitter and got the ball rolling by tweeting Dana White and calling out no less than former UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez:
@danawhite Fedor vs Velasquez in 2012, lets make this happen. Fedor is back, and a fight w/ Cain will prove it.
White's response, also via twitter, was simple, straightforward, and emphatic. When asked if the rumors of a possible Fedor/UFC deal were true, Dana replied simply:
Kogan is trying his best to make this sound like a possibility, noting their high attendance for the Fedor vs. Monson fight, and insisting that they would not be looking to co-promote, just to see this fight happen.
My take on it? Despite those loses, there is still a big appeal in seeing Fedor in the UFC. At this point, he will easily go down in the books as the biggest name of this era to never have a UFC fight, and that is a shame. I don't think he has the ability to seriously make a UFC Heavyweight title run (the mind shudders at the thought of Fedor vs. Junior dos Santos), and he's not a good match-up for the top young guns of the division, including Cain Velasquez. But I would be interested to see him against someone like Frank Mir, or even another go with Minotauro.
But will that happen? I wouldn't hold my breath.
Dana White tried to bring Fedor to the UFC before, and M-1 played hardball with the negotiations, making massive demands and asking a huge salary that Zuffa was unwilling to meet. At the time, they felt they could make those demands, as Fedor was the undefeated pound for pound king and clear #1 Heavyweight in the world. But those days are gone. And now, as M-1 comes knocking again, they are finding that their previous strong-arm tactics have come back to bite them. They refused to meet Dana on his terms before - don't be surprised to see Dana refuse to meet them now.
In the end, while there is some upside to a Fedor UFC run, it's not something that his career demands, nor is it something that will have a massive benefit to the UFC (unless they suddenly decide to run a card in Russia at some point). And so we may have to resign ourselves that the mythical Fedor run in the Octagon will forever remain a figment of our imagination.
by Fraser Coffeen