With long-time UFC fighters Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos both having recently been released by the promotion, Bellator boss Scott Coker now sees an opportunity to match them up with another heavyweight legend who is currently under contract with him, ‘The Last Emperor’ Fedor Emelianenko.
“We’re not going to sign these guys to, like, a two-year, six-fight deal or build them up,” Coker told MMAjunkie. “They’ve done everything. They’ve already proved themselves. They are legends of the sport already. But what I will say is we do have legends of the sport here.
“If we go down the road, and we think a Fedor opponent will work, Alistair and Fedor will be very interesting to me. Junior Dos Santos and Fedor will be very interesting to me.”
Fedor had struggled with the effects of Covid-19 recently, but the 44-year-old has since recovered and so one of these fights could happen later this year.
“He’s doing much better and he’s ready to start training and getting ready. He will fight here in the next several months, I think. I’m going to talk to him when he gets here next week.
“He’s coming with (Vadim) Nemkov. I’ll have a chance to sit down and talk to him. I’ll make sure we’re on the same page as far as the timing of it all. I’m thinking late summer or early fall, you’ll see Fedor in the cage again.”
Despite having fought in both the PRIDE and Strikeforce organizations at the same time, Fedor and Overeem have never fought before. They were however paired in the same bracket of Strikeforce’s heavyweight grand-prix back in 2011, but Fedor suffered an upset loss by TKO against Antonio Silva in the quarter-finals, while Overeem defeated Fabricio Werdum, but then jumped ship to join the UFC.
As for dos Santos, he spent the vast majority of his career in the UFC, well away from Fedor, but since being cut from the organization he’s expressed an interest in fighting the Russian star.