Despite the fact that Brock Lesnar and Fedor Emelianenko both recently retired from active MMA competition, the mixed martial arts community hasn’t quite given up on a potential superfight between two of the biggest stars in the history of the sport.
Last week, UFC President Dana White asked the members of the popular MMA forum The Underground if they were still interested in seeing an eventual bout between arguably the most important heavyweight fighters in MMA history, and within hours the forum was lit up with nearly 2000 responses, most of those answering the question with a resounding “yes.”
The news that White had even mentioned a potential fight between the two behemoths was enough to get the entire MMA community focused on something other than Jon Jones and the cancellation of UFC 151 for little while, and despite the two fighters having lost a combined five fights in a row during their previous runs in major MMA promotions, the overwhelmingly positive feedback surrounding such a fight wasn’t the least bit surprising.
MMA fans have been begging for a Lesnar vs. Fedor bout to take place ever since Lesnar took the UFC heavyweight title off of Randy Couture at UFC 91, and despite a declining amount of success on the part of both fighters since that time, a chance to see two of the most popular fighters no longer in the sport was still enough to drive the MMA community into a frenzy.
However, as awesome as an eventual fight between “The Last Emperor” and “The King of the Brocktagon” sounds, it’s never going to happen, because there’s no chance that Dana White can put this fight together.
The UFC president spent years playing poker with Emelianenko’s management team at M-1 Global to bring Fedor to the Octagon, even calling it an obsession at one point. But due to their ridiculous demands, White was never able to make it happen.
And while Emelianenko’s stock has taken a major hit since the last time the UFC and M-1 Global were in public negotiations, the odds of White ever agreeing to terms with the Russian contingent and getting Emelianenko out of retirement and inside the eight-sided cage are slim to none.
Following a rough four-fight run in the Strikeforce promotion that saw Emelianenko’s nearly ten-year undefeated streak come crashing down with three consecutive losses, Fedor went back to his roots for his final three fights as he headed back to Russia and Japan to beat down a few opponents that he was heavily favored to destroy.
After getting back on track and attempting to erase the bad memories fans had from his Strikeforce run, Emelianenko decided the time was right to hang up his gloves following a first-round thrashing of former UFC title contender Pedro Rizzo.
While most fans wouldn’t be surprised to see Emelianenko come out of retirement eventually, it likely won’t happen in the UFC, and it definitely won’t happen inside the Octagon against Lesnar.
Lesnar started his MMA career off in impressive fashion, amassing a 4-1 record and becoming a world champion with less than a handful of fights in his career. But following the biggest win of his career over Frank Mir at UFC 100, a case of diverticulitis, a serious intestinal disorder, put his MMA future in jeopardy.
Nearly a year-long layoff followed Lesnar’s win over Mir, and although he was able to defeat Shane Carwin to retain his belt at UFC 116, he showed he wasn’t as unstoppable as we were led to believe when Carwin floored him with big shots and almost took the belt away from him in the first round.
Cain Velasquez beat down Lesnar to snatch the belt away a few months after the Carwin fight, and after another lengthy layoff due during which Lesnar against battled diverticulitis, the former WWE superstar dropped his final UFC bout to Alistair Overeem in December of last year.
Since that time, Brock has returned to his roots in the WWE and is reportedly signed with the company through at least Wrestlemania 29 next April. Lesnar’s WWE contract allows him to take months off at a time, and while the world of professional wrestling is incredibly physical, the toll that preparing for another MMA fight would take on his body may be too much for even “The Next Big Thing” to handle.
After struggling through nearly two straight years of illness and getting thoroughly beaten down in his final two fights, it seems doubtful that Lesnar would want to step back inside the Octagon to fight one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport.
A few years ago, a fight between Emelianenko and Lesnar would have been enough to cause even the most level-headed of MMA fans to practically wet themselves in anticipation, but that time has passed. The physical decline of both fighters can’t be ignored, and while the fight would likely do huge pay-per-view numbers and attract a ton of media attention, it’s no longer the battle of champions that we wanted back in 2009.
Lesnar and Emelianenko have both retired, and you have to believe that they made the choice to hang up their gloves for a reason. Whether it’s health concerns for Lesnar or a decade long career finally catching up to Emelianenko, neither fighter is in the right place at the moment for a superfight to take place.
Even if the health concerns aren’t enough to completely put this fight to bed, the odds of Dana White and M-1 Global actually agreeing to a deal are slim to none.
Dana White has made a living by putting on the fights that fans want to see, but even the president of the biggest MMA promotion on the planet won’t be able to make this fight happen, no matter how much he or the fans might want it to happen.
Photo: Brock Lesnar (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)