Following Tuesday's announcement that Russian heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko would return to professional competition, the MMA community, mainly fighters and pundits, have shown their support for his unexpected decision. While some fighters have offered to fight him in his return, others like Sergei Kharitonov offered to train him for his comeback.
"I wish Fedor good preparation," Kharitonov told R-Sport. "I'm happy to work out with him. As for us, Russian fighters will put in every effort to help him in the preparation."
Kharitanov is a veteran of promotions such as PRIDE Fighting Championships, DREAM and Strikeforce, where he holds wins over the likes of current UFC champion Fabricio Werdum, as well as Andrei Arlovski, Alistar Overeem and Pedro Rizzo. He is currently on a four-fight win streak dating back three years. His last loss took place under the Strikeforce banner against Josh Barnett in the heavyweight Grand Prix semi-final in 2011. His most recent win took place earlier this month in the form of a quick TKO win against Kenny Garner.
Although currently 34 years old, Kharitonov revealed that his "fighting career is only at the beginning" and that he is still looking for big fights.
"I've never turned down any fight," Kharitonov told M-1 Global. "If M-1 offers me a fight with Marcin Tybura. I will accept that fight immediately. I would accept it right now."
Given his age and motivation to perform, Kharitonov is remarkably supportive of Fedor's decision to resume competition at age 38.
"I've waited a long time for Fedor to return. 38 years is not old, it is flourishing. I will be 35 in August. I think that a man before 40 years is gaining momentum."