When former mixed martial arts (MMA) and PRIDE legend Fedor Emelianenko announced his return to fighting earlier this month, it was met with a lot of chatter about potential opponents.
As well as employers.
Which MMA organization he might return to, and the opponent he might face, has yet to be determined. However, one man, more so than others, would welcome a second crack at "The Last Emperor."
Current UFC heavyweight contender and past champion Andrei Arlovski originally fought the stout Russian in the now-defunct Affliction fight promotion back in 2009, lost via knockout in the very first round. Arlovski, a winner of five-straight fights, is now clamoring for a do-over.
"I would love to have a rematch but I don't know. It's up to the UFC. If Dana White is going to sign him, great," Arlovski said on his live chat Thursday (via MMA Fighting). "I'm going to fuck him up. I'm not going to jump with that fucking stupid flying knee. It's going to be a different match."
In their first meeting, Arlovski was dominating the bout early, out-landing the Russian by a wide margin before attempting a knee strike just over three minutes into the first round. "The Pit Bull" hurled himself straight into an incoming counter right hand and that was all she wrote.
It's the stuff nightmares are made of.
A future rematch between Arlovski and Fedor would garner a lot of attention, as would a planned tilt against two of UFC's most tenured heavyweights.
It was announced earlier this week that an intriguing match up of past heavyweight champions -- Arlovski and Frank Mir -- was potentially on tap for UFC 191 on Sept. 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mir was originally pegged to face Arlovski twice after capturing the 265-pound strap the first time in June 2004, but the former was hurt in a grisly motorcycle accident.
The proposed heavyweight bout is still being negotiated, but Arlovski remains jubilant that the fight may finally take place, albeit over 10 years later. He is also wary of the overall skill and improvements Mir has made, including his bone-breaking submission game.
"He's on a winning streak, I'm on a winning streak and we were supposed to fight in 2007[sic]," said Arlovski. "Definitely he's tough and I'm very excited if it's going to happen. He's much tougher, I think, right now. A more dangerous fighter. He's not scared to brawl and it's going to be a great match.
He has power in his hands and he's a black belt in Jiu Jitsu. He's no joke. If I'm going to fight him I have to be prepared. On the ground, he's a king. He's much, much better than me. It's no doubt."
After suffering four straight losses in a two-year span, Mir switched up his training regimen and has now reeled off two-straight, first-round knockouts over Antonio Silva and Todd Duffee. Mir's boxing was always solid, but it appears the time off has really done the Nevada native some good.
The ferocity in his hands makes him a much more difficult puzzle to solve as his power now complements his prowess in jiu-jitsu very well.
However, he is no Fedor.
His run through the mixed martial arts (MMA) landscape in PRIDE is well documented, as well as his fall from the top. Fedor was unbeatable over an eight-year period, having submitted men like Heath Herring, Mark Hunt, and Tim Sylvia, before taking a nosedive in the now-deceased Strikeforce promotion.
Fights with both men are of equal importance to Arlovski's career, but right now, the 36-year-old Belarusian needs to keep his name relevant in the crowded heap atop UFC's heavyweight division, before he can begin to think about trading haymakers with Fedor again.