All the signs suggest that the UFC are closer than ever to finally signing legendary Russian heavyweight star Fedor Emelianenko.

The UFC have tried several times in the past to capture the fighter’s signature, but the two parties have never seen eye-to-eye, though that’s perhaps more down to the Russian’s former heavy-handed management team M-1 Global than anything else.

However, with M-1 Global out of the picture these days, the icy relationship between Fedor and the UFC appears to be thawing.

That’s led to Fedor’s next fight against former UFC fighter Fabio Maldonado at EFN 50 in Russia on June 17th being aired live via the UFC’s Fight Pass subscription service, and furthermore, the company have started to give the match-up a significant promotional push, including posting a trailer on the official UFC YouTube channel, and today offering up his fight with Andrei Arlovski at an Affliction show back in 2009.

Given that Arlovski is currently in the UFC and got absolutely starched by Fedor in that fight, it’s unusual to see the promotion ‘put over’ a fighter who’s currently not under contract with them.

That in itself adds fuel to the fire that they may be close to signing him, and in the mean time Fedor himself has confirmed that he has been in talks with the UFC, acknowledging that almost all the top heavyweights that he’s interested in competing against are currently under contract there.

The UFC brass have come close before to bringing Fedor on-board though, only for the deal to fall through for one reason or another, and with the Russian hero believed to still be wary of some of the terms of the UFC’s contract, it’s by no means a sure-thing yet that we’ll at last get to see ‘The Last Emperor’ set foot in the Octagon.