The UFC's heavyweight division is as interesting as it hasn't been in a long time, with Fabricio Werdum being the new champion and old veterans like Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir on an impressive comeback trail lately. And it could get even more exciting with the comeback of Pride FC legend Fedor Emelianenko, the former best heavyweight in the world. The Russian icon has announced his return to fighting this week, and though he hasn't decided yet, when and where he will step in the ring again, fans and journalist alike are already dreaming of huge fantasy matchups.
One of them being a fight against former UFC champion Frank Mir, who scored a vicious knockout over Todd Duffee last night at UFC Fight Night San Diego, and has made a name for himself as a certified Pride killer, with impressive wins over Mirko Crop Cop and Antonio Nogueira (twice). And obviously Mir would be up for the challenge.
"Absolutely, I have a lot of respect for Fedor," he told a reporter at yesterday's post-fight press conference. "I think he just had a couple bad fights then, because the guy had 30 fights where he just ran through everybody. I think maybe he questioned himself and had some doubts. He kind of basically did what I did, he has taken some time off and probably re-found himself. And that guy is a martial artist, he wasn't out of the gym. I'm sure he was still training Sambo and moving around. The guy is a very powerful, explosive, and a very savvy fighter. An opportunity to face him would be a huge, huge honor."
Mir wouldn't want to welcome Emelianenko back to the cage, though, and rather wait and see, if the former Pride champion still has what it takes to compete with the world's elite fighters.
"I might, just on the selfish side, want him to face somebody else first, so he can showcase to everybody that he's still a monster and a scary dude, remind maybe the modern fans of who Fedor is," Mir said. "I faced a lot of the greats over there from Pride. Nogueira being one of them, Cro Cop, phenomenal fighter now also making a rejuvenation of his career. So going out there, facing somebody like Fedor? Absolutely!"
Fedor Emelianenko has once been the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. Newly-crowned UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum shockingly handed him his first defeat in over eight years, as a massive underdog in 2010. The loss marked the end of Fedor's reign on top of the sport and was followed by back-to-back defeats against Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson. He racked up three more wins at M-1 Global in Russia before he retired in 2012.