Oh, how the tides have changed.
After countless failed attempts to get Fedor Emelianenko, who was once considered the best mixed martial artist on the planet, into the UFC fold, there just may be a glimmer of hope to see the Russian mixed martial artist compete inside the Octagon.
Fedor, who rose to fame in "The Land of the Rising Sun" while competing under the PRIDE FC banner alongside greats such as Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua, and Mirko Filipovic, is one of the few stars from that era who did not make the jump to the UFC once Zuffa purchased PRIDE Fighting Championships back in 2007.
Fans have longed to see "The Last Emperor" mix it up with the heavyweights of the UFC, to see just how good he really was; but it was never to be, as Fedor signed with Strikeforce, who at the time was the UFC's biggest competition.
Emelianenko on the other hand, never had much interest in fighting for the UFC, however, it seems that the pudgy pugilist is softening his stance.
In his most recent interview with news.sportbox.ru, Fedor says though his management team and Zuffa officials have failed to come to an agreement in the past, he still has a desire to compete in the world's largest mixed martial arts promotion:
"I compete on international level, in MMA and Combat Sambo and I represent my country. And I think there can't be better stimulus. It's about titles. Of course I would like in UFC too, but to this day, all the times we had negotiations with them.. possibly they have allergy on me (laughs), and for some reason we can't make an agreement now. Vadim met them, but for example if we had some agreement in talk, the contract that they sent then were different. But I have a desire to compete in UFC."
Zuffa (UFC's parent company) and M-1 Global could never come to terms on an agreement as it seemed M-1 Global, Fedor's management, was hung up on co-promoting. Dana White and the heads of Zuffa would have none of it.
Three consecutive losses and one huge business transaction later in which Zuffa purchased the San Jose based promotion Strikeforce, and poof, Fedor was gone as he was released from his duties with Zuffa owned Strikeforce.
UFC President Dana White has often been hot and cold...mostly cold, about acquiring the services of the Russian heavyweight, however, with all of the promotion's goals and busy schedule for 2012, it's safe to say the signing of Fedor is not very high on their priority list.
However, stranger things have happened, and at this point, it's anybody guess if Fedor will ever don UFC gloves.
Fedor returned to his winning ways by systematically picking apart Jeff Monson on November 20, 2011, in Moscow, Russia at M-1 Global's: "Fedor vs. Monson," en route to a unanimous decision win. The victory ended his three fight skid which came while under the Strikeforce banner.
While not holding your breath, if Zuffa and M-1 officials were to somehow come to terms, do you feel that Fedor still has enough fight left in his reserves to compete at such a high level that is the Ultimate Fighting Championship?
Or is it too little, too late, for "The Last Emperor?"