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6/15/16: Top Potential Fights to Make For Fedor Emelianenko in the UFC
Fedor Emelianenko continues to speak on the potential for finally signing with the UFC, so with today’s Top Five we look at the five most interesting realistic options for him to face should that come to fruition.
5. Mark Hunt: They fought a decade ago, but they’re in very different places in 2016. Emelianenko was at the peak of his run as the best heavyweight in the world in 2006 when he defeated Hunt at Pride’s year-end event for that year, and he scored a submission win over the New Zealand born slugger. With Hunt emerging as a considerable force over the last few years, a showdown with Emelianenko could be quite interesting.
4. Josh Barnett: The fight that never happened quite often gets blamed for the folding of the short-lived Affliction promotion, but Barnett’s failed drug test weeks before the event was just one of numerous issues that led to that end result. Though Barnett’s got a fall booking right now, this remains a really good fight at heavyweight, and one most fans would likely embrace.
3. Alistair Overeem: Speaking of fights that never wound up happening, Strikeforce’s decision to put Overeem and Fedor on opposite sides of their heavyweight tournament bracket rather than making the fight everyone wanted to see at the time meant that any upset could derail things. That’s what happened, and we’ve still never seen the two of them square off. Book it.
2. Brock Lesnar: If Lesnar’s return at UFC 200 is more than just a one-off, this could potentially be a massive, massive fight for the UFC. Six years ago it would have been the biggest fight that could have possibly been made anywhere. Presently it would still be a really big deal, and if Lesnar comes back, beats Hunt, and Emelianenko signs with the UFC for the fall…. well, let’s just say Brock’s got some experience at Madison Square Garden.
1. Fabricio Werdum: This is perhaps the most realistic of all the options, and it’s a highly interesting fight in 2016 as well. Werdum, having lost the UFC Heavyweight Championship to Stipe Miocic, is much more likely to be booked with Fedor now than had he retained that title. Emelianenko wants that rematch, as that upset back in 2010 was the first legitimate defeat for “The Last Emperor” in his ten year career. It was an entirely shocking moment at the time, and though Werdum’s later run would establish him as the elite heavyweight that he is, it seemed wholly unlikely when it happened. Run it back inside the Octagon, and bring Emelianenko into the fold.
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