Scott Coker Says Fedor Emelianenko Wanted “Top” Opponent Over Fight With Fellow Legend
By FCF Staff
The recent announcement that Fedor Emelianenko is going to fight Timothy Johnson next, didn’t go over well with some fans and observers. But, recently Bellator President Scott Coker provided some context, on how the heavyweight bout came together.
Recently, Bellator confirmed that Emelianenko (39-6) will battle Johnson (15-7) at an October 23rd card in Moscow. Since Emelianenko is only expected to fight one or two more times, there had been extensive speculation the legend would fight another decorated fighter like Josh Barnett or Junior dos Santos.
Further, since Johnson is coming off a split decision loss to Fedor’s teammate, Valentin Moldavsky, the booking seemed to catch a lot of people off guard.
But, while talking to MMA Junkie recently about the upcoming fight, Coker relayed the following.
“We started taking these names and Fedor was really thinking about it,” Coker said. “When he came here for the Moldavsky fight, he said to me, ‘If Moldavsky loses, I want to fight Tim Johnson.’ In his mind, I think he already had a focus on somebody that’s ranked – somebody that’s relevant in today’s fighting. Maybe he could’ve got that shot against (Ryan) Bader in that sense, right? He wanted to fight Tim Johnson if he won, but he lost. I think in his mind, he had this fight in his mind.
“He went home and thought about it. We gave him all the names and it was really up to him. To me, he deserves to be able to choose who he wants to be able to fight in his last couple of fights. He’s going to retire after he fights this fight and then he’s got one more and he’s going to retire. To me, he’s the greatest heavyweight of all time. He’s accomplished so much (and) done so much for the sport.”
In addition, Coker had this to say about Fedor’s decision to fight Johnson.
“I would’ve loved it because you get to see names, but Fedor wants to fight somebody in that top (tier). I think he still wants to fight for the belt and fight Bader again. That’s really what his goal is. We haven’t had that conversation. I just said, ‘OK, you want to fight Tim Johnson? We’ll have you fight Tim Johnson.’ Then, we’ll take it from there.”
Johnson’s loss to Moldavsky came in a fight for the interim heavyweight title. Johnson is currently ranked #2 in Bellator’s heavyweight division.
Emelianenko hasn’t competed since December, 2019, when he quickly stopped ‘Rampage’ Jackson.