In an act of pure awesomeness, Bellator MMA is gifting combat fans with an eight-man heavyweight tournament next year that includes some of the biggest names in the sport.
Alongside fellow tourney players Chael Sonnen, Quinton Jackson, Ryan Bader, Roy Nelson, Muhammad Lawal, and Matt Mitrione, heavyweight legends Fedor Emelianenko and Frank Mir will meet in an intense opening-round battle. The two are currently slated to meet in April, but no official date or venue has been named.
Out of all eight of the heavyweights competing for ultimate glory, Emelianenko is easily the most accomplished, which is why Mir is so darn excited to take his shot at one of the most infamous fighters to ever compete in mixed martial arts (MMA). After all, Mir is one of the best heavyweights in his own right so it only makes sense for the two to collide before it’s all said and done.
“It’s like being a big-game hunter,” Mir told MMAjunkie Radio about his opening-round bout with Emelianenko. “I don’t want to go out there and shoot a little quail. You want to take out the biggest and the baddest.”
Mir, 38, will be making his Bellator debut against “Last Emperor” after striking a deal this past August. The former UFC heavyweight champion was granted release from his UFC contract after getting hit with a two-year suspension for some “kangaroo meet.”
“It’s nice to be a fighter again,” Mir said. “A little bit of limbo was the last year-and-a-half, not having a fight scheduled and not being able to participate. I finally get to fight again. It’s something that, when you don’t get to do what you love, it makes it even worse.”
Not only will Mir be fighting for the first time in over two years when he meets Emelianenko inside of the Bellator cage this April, but he’ll be looking to lock down his first win since knocking out Todd Duffee in 73 seconds at UFC Fight Night 71. His quarterfinal matchup with Emelianenko will be a meeting between two of the very best heavyweights in MMA history.