Talk of Fedor Emelianenko’s return wasn’t just talk it seems. The legendary MMA fighter will jump back into the cage on Dec. 31 in Tokyo.
According to ESPN, Emelianenko (34-4) will compete against an opponent yet to be named at a venue to be determined. However, it will air on Spike TV.
The 38-year-old retired in 2012, but has teased a pending comeback for weeks.
“I’m glad to be here at this monumental Bellator event, and I’m also very happy it was at this event my return to MMA was announced,” Emelianenko said through a translator. “I’m excited to be working with my old partners and hoping the new reboot will be just as successful.”
The forthcoming fight was announced during Bellator: Dynamite on Saturday (Sept. 29), but his return is not under the Bellator MMA banner. Instead, he’s signed a deal with former PRIDE president Nobuyuki Sakakibara, who is spearheading an effort to rebuild a once-prominent Japanese MMA scene.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Emelianenko was long considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, up until 2010, when he suffered three consecutive losses to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson.