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Fedor Emelianenko ‘got his bullseye on Ryan Bader’ for his retirement fight

Bellator president Scott Coker recently spoke about Fedor Emelianenko’s retirement fight

Fedor Emelianenko wants a rematch with Ryan Bader for his retirement fight
Fedor Emelianenko wants a rematch with Ryan Bader for his retirement fight
Photo by Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/The Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

It’s been nearly a year since Fedor Emelianenko last fought. Since that contest, a first-round knockout win over Timothy Johnson in Moscow, the focus has been on when, where and who the legendary MMA competitor will face in his retirement fight. Bellator president Scott Coker recently shed some light on that topic.

“Fedor hit me up, ‘Am I going to fight Anderson Silva?’ I said, ‘No, no. Everybody just calm down.’” Coker said on The MMA Hour. “Listen, I would personally love to see that fight, but Fedor, he’s got his bullseye on Ryan Bader. He wants to fight Ryan Bader. So Ryan is resting and he wants to fight at the beginning of next year. So we’re going to have a conversation.”

That timeline seems to fight with Emelianenko’s plans. In August, he said he wanted his last fight to happen in January 2023.

Emelianenko is on a two-fight winning streak since he faced Bader in January 2019, in addition to his win over Johnson, Emelianenko knocked out ex-UFC champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in December 2019. The matchup between Emelianenko and Bader served as the final of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. Emelianenko made his way to that contest with knockout wins over Frank Mir and Chael Sonnen. Bader’s path to the World Grand Prix final saw him knock out Muhammed Lawal and defeat Matt Mitrione by decision. Bader scored a 35-second knockout win over Emelianenko.

With that win, Bader claimed the promotion’s heavyweight title. He is 2-0 with one no contest in Bellator heavyweight title fights. Bader’s most recent defense of his heavyweight crown came in May when he earned a decision win over Check Kongo in Paris, France.

Coker did not mention where the Emelianenko vs. Bader rematch will take place if it gets booked.