Many speculated that Fedor Emelianenko’s February TKO defeat to Antonio Silva would be his last appearance in the cage, as he hinted strongly at retirement in his post-fight speech.
However, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker recently appeared on the Sherdog Radio Network’s Beatdown show, where he revealed that “The Last Emperor” will be returning to the Strikeforce cage this Summer.
“Fedor’s gonna fight sometime in July,” Coker said. “It’s probably toward the end of July or mid-July, but we have fights with Fedor that we’re gonna honor and continue forward. We’re gonna do the co-branding exercise that we do with M-1 every time we do fights with them.”
Emelianenko’s defeat to Silva came in the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and Coker explained that his return bout — for which an opponent has not yet been chosen — could set him up as an alternate for the tournament, should any of the non-eliminated fighters succumb to injury.
“The opponent has not been chosen, but I think having Fedor involved close to the tournament as an alternate is definitely a possibility,” he said.
Having lost via submission to Fabricio Werdum prior to fighting Silva, Emelianenko has now lost two in a row and Coker hinted that another dramatic loss could spell the end of Emelianenko’s Strikeforce career.
“You gotta perform. I think he did a good job against Silva, and that worked out the way it did, but he’s still a competitive fighter that can compete at the highest level on any given Saturday night,” said Coker. “I think this next one’s gonna be very important. He’s gonna have to perform.”
Emelianenko’s career record currently stands at 31-3.