Fedor Emelianenko vs. ‘Rampage’ Jackson? Scott Coker likes the idea

NEW YORK – Fedor Emelianenko and Quinton Jackson have fought alongside each other on PRIDE and Bellator cards. Now, they might actually fight each other.

Bellator CEO Scott Coker likes the idea of pairing the legendary heavyweight and the heavyweight-by-necessity, he told reporters after announcing Emelianenko’s new contract.

“There’s a couple of fighters that come to my mind,” Coker said at Friday night’s Bellator 222 post-fight news conference at Madison Square Garden. “But it’s a multi-fight, multi-year deal, and this is going to be his retirement tour.

“I would like to take him to a lot of countries and cities that haven’t seen him in a long time, or have never seen him. It’s going to be fun when we roll this thing out.”

Jackson, 40, moved up to the big-man division permanently when he entered the Bellator heavyweight grand prix. A thyroid condition left him unable to cut the weight necessary to compete in the light heavyweight class, where he once held the UFC title.

Jackson was eliminated from the tournament with a quarterfinal loss to Chael Sonnen. But he rebounded this past September with a second win over longtime rival Wanderlei Silva.

Emelianenko eliminated Sonnen from the heavyweight grand prix to face light heavyweight champ Ryan Bader in the finals. But his hopes were quickly dashed by a punch that knocked him out in the first round. Although he didn’t make any commitments about his future, there was widespread speculation the fight might be his last. Bader and Coker said the 42-year-old Russian had nothing left to prove.

But with Friday’s announcement, Emelianenko (38-6 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) isn’t ready to hang up his gloves. His signing also opens the door to reboot an ill-fated matchup with Josh Barnett 10 years after a headliner at “Affliction: Trilogy” was scratched due to Barnett’s failed drug test.

Coker has already targeted Barnett to meet the winner of an upcoming heavyweight title fight between Bader and Cheick Kongo. In the meantime, Jackson (38-13 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) could test his mettle against the all-time great.

For complete coverage of Bellator 222, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

 

 

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