It looks like Fedor Emelianenko might be headed for retirement. That is, if you believe what he recently said during a press conference for his upcoming June 21 fight with Pedro Rizzo. With “The Last Emperor” nearing the end of one of the most storied careers in the young sport of MMA, now is the time for all parties to put aside their differences and give Fedor the perfect send-off.

While money and co-promotion caused a great divide between Emelianenko’s M-1 Global camp and the UFC that could never be bridged to allow the world’s greatest heavyweight into the Octagon, Emelianenko did manage to arrive in the U.S. and compete under the Strikeforce banner.

Needless to say, it didn’t go quite as well as anyone involved could have hoped. The aura of invincibility fell as Emelianenko was submitted by Fabricio Werdum and suffered subsequent losses to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Dan Henderson. Parting ways with Strikeforce, Emelianenko has since battled former UFC heavyweight contender Jeff Monson and is now set to fight Rizzo. But with retirement nearing, and Strikeforce’s own Heavyweight Grand Prix coming to a close, it’s the perfect opportunity for Zuffa, M-1 Global and Fedor to do something truly special.

One of Pride’s other top heavyweights, Josh Barnett, will collide with Daniel Cormier on May 19 in the finals of Strikeforce’s heavyweight tournament. Barnett and Emelianenko never did meet in Pride’s ring, but should Barnett defeat Cormier to claim the Grand Prix championship, it would be the perfect setup for a fight with the legendary Emelianenko.

But that’s not the grandest of ideas. This is:

Emelianenko’s rise to near God-like status came in the Land of the Rising Sun. The Russian heavyweight’s retirement fight should take place on the same Japanese shores where his name and legend were built.

"Rampage" Jackson's famous slam of Ricardo Arona

Such a fight, especially against Barnett, would give Zuffa the perfect excuse to resurrect the Pride Fighting Championships banner, of which Zuffa owns the rights. Bringing back Pride, and if possible the old Pride ring, for a one-time event of such magnitude would surely be a crowd-pleaser and would mark an epic night for the sport. Enough of Pride’s fighters are still relevant, and such an event would allow newer MMA converts to get a small glimpse of what all the fuss was about back in those glory days when soccer kicks were legal and “Rampage” was power-bombing foes into oblivion.

In fact, the timing actually could not be better. Not only is Barnett one win away from a tournament championship, but Mark Hunt is experiencing a sudden surge up the rankings in the UFC, the Nogueira brothers are both competing inside the Octagon, Gilbert Melendez is running out of foes in Strikeforce, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s big wish is to fight Mauricio “Shogun” Rua once more, Alistair Overeem would likely be emerging from his suspension around the time that many of these fighters would be recovering and ready to return to action following their currently scheduled bouts, and surely fighters such as Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort—and maybe even Anderson Silva—would want in on the action of giving the Japanese crowd one more show.

While Fedor’s legacy has suffered its blemishes with his three recent losses, there are still legions of hardcore fans that look at him as the greatest fighter to ever put on four-ounce gloves. Combining his farewell with a night filled with superstar names that the mainstream fans appreciate allows Zuffa the perfect blend of interest and nostalgia to make a single Pride event a realistic dream.

There are lots of hurdles in the way of such an amazing night of fights—and this writer acknowledges just how unlikely it is to actually take place—but surely the UFC could make it happen if it wanted to. A last hurrah for Fedor under the bright lights of the Tokyo Dome or Saitama Super Arena, and in front of the hushed Japanese crowd, would be a fitting way for the legend to exit the sport, and a great way for the UFC to relive an era, even if just for one night.

Top Photo: Fedor Emelianenko (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)