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Josh Barnett, Tito Ortiz volunteer as potential opponents for Fedor Emelianenko’s final fight

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Bellator president Scott Coker is looking to set up a last fight for the Russian Heavyweight ... and he’s got some good options already lined up.

Affliction M-1 Global “Trilogy” Official Announcement - Press Conference Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images

Heavyweight G.O.A.T. contender Fedor Emelianenko didn’t fight in 2020, just another thing the Coronavirus took from us last year. And it may be a while yet before we see him in the cage again, as Bellator MMA President, Scott Coker, attempts to wrangle an ambitious massive last hurrah for “The Last Emperor.”

“I really want Fedor to finish his career in front of 30,000 people in Moscow, to be honest, Bellator MMA’s first fight in Russia,” Coker told MMA Junkie recently. “Do a fight in Moscow. For him, the prodigal son has returned. Fedor is the greatest fighter of all-time, and he’s now coming home to retire and put his gloves up and hang it up to retire.”

Of course, that’s going to be difficult until COVID-19 vaccinations are well underway in Russia. A slightly less difficult — but no less important — issue is who to put across the cage from Fedor. Two Bellator signees that would make solid headliners are Josh Barnett and Tito Ortiz. And both men volunteered their services when the question was raised over Twitter.

Barnett vs. Emelianenko is a match up that should have happened forever ago in the wild days of Pride FC, and was then snatched from us in 2009 when a drug test failure pulled Barnett off an Affliction card. It’s almost on par with Ferguson vs. Khabib for those old schoolers who have been around since the early 2000s, however many of those there are still around and active today.

And then there’s Ortiz, who has seen his post-UFC career go 5-1 over the last seven years (with four of those fights being with Bellator). Anything that pulls Ortiz away from the United States political scene where he’s become a Huntington Beach City Council member on anti-mask QAnon rhetoric would be an improvement in our book.

But, for all this talk about Fedor’s last fight, there’s one man who doesn’t seem too into it: Fedor Emelianenko himself, who continues to show up for Bellator press conferences promoting a “Fedor Farewell Tour” and refusing to commit to retirement.

“My sports career is slowly nearing its conclusion, though I am looking forward for more fights,” he told Russian outlet TASS in Aug. 2020. “Time will only tell. It will all depend on the way I feel and on my desire to carry on fighting.”