Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Junior Dos Santos will make his Eagle FC debut on Friday, but it turns out the promotion already has big plans for his future.
If the former UFC heavyweight champion is able to get through Yorgan De Castro in the Eagle FC 47 main event, Khabib Nurmagomedov announced plans to pursue a fight that would book Dos Santos against Fedor Emelianenko in the near future.
“If Dos Santos wins, I really want to make Dos Santos versus Fedor,” Nurmagomedov said at the Eagle FC 47 pre-fight press conference. “He has to focus on Yorgan next because Friday he has a tough opponent.
“He has to stay focused but I want to talk to my friend Scott Coker because Fedor is under Bellator contract. I don’t know what they’re going to do next with him but definitely we can talk and we can create some good stories.”
Emelianenko is widely considered as one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of the sport but he’s currently approaching the end of his legendary career.
With his 46th birthday approaching in September, Emelianenko has stated that his next fight, which is the final bout on his current deal with Bellator MMA, would be his last.
Initially, Bellator planned on promoting Emelianenko’s final fight in his home country of Russia but the recent invasion into the Ukraine nixed that idea.
There’s been no further word on when Emelianenko might appear again as he looks to put a bow on his career but Nurmagomedov definitely has ideas about a co-promotion between Eagle FC and Bellator.
“Why not?” Nurmagomedov said. “Because these two guys were the face of MMA. Fedor is the greatest fighter of all time, in my opinion, and Dos Santos was champion for a couple of years in UFC.
“These two guys they deserve [it] and the fans deserve [it] and for me it’s a very interesting matchup, too.”
When Emelianenko first announced that he planned to retire after two more fights, Dos Santos immediately jumped on the opportunity to call for the matchup following his exit from the UFC.
Ultimately the fight never came together but now there’s renewed hope with Nurmagomedov declaring his plans to speak to Bellator president Scott Coker about potentially working together to make it happen.
Hearing that news for the first time during the press conference, Dos Santos was all smiles as he explained why a fight with Emelianenko would mean so much to him.
“That was completely news for me,” Dos Santos said. “I’m a big, big fan of Fedor and I really believe like Khabib said, he’s the greatest. That was a magical time in the MMA world and when he was fighting he did those amazing fights with ‘Big Nog’ (Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira), I wasn’t even fighting at that time but I was a big fan of them.
“So for me, because I trained with ‘Big Nog’ as well, it was always a dream [to fight Fedor]. The biggest thing that I would like to achieve in my MMA career is to fight Fedor. So to hear that maybe possible now, it’s just amazing.”