First it was unkown Jaideep Singh and then next Tsuyoshi Kohsaka who would welcome Fedor back to MMA. But it seems that Rizin FF are still to confirm an opponent for the Russain Heavyweight who returns on New Year’s Eve.
So with no opponent confirmed #WHOATV look across the Heavyweight landscape and come up with five of our own to fight Fedor;
Pudzianowski may have been stopped in his last fight against Peter Graham but the former World’s Strongest Man has a huge name behind him and could certainly stake a claim at welcoming Fedor back to the cage. Whilst Pudzianowski would not be the most technical opponent for Fedor he would certainly prove a challenge in terms of his size and whilst some would argue he isn’t credible enough lets just remember that Fedor was being matched against a kickboxer who had a 1-0 record.
“The Wrecking Machine” started his career with a huge nine fight undefeated streak before coming up against Bobby Lashley at Bellator 130. Etherington then got stopped at BAMMA 19 but has since bounced back to winning ways picking up a submission win at Budo 12. Etherington may not have that big name win on his resume but for a returning Fedor would pose a very tough challenge and in my eyes is as credible candidate as anyone else on this list.
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
Now Cro Cop may have left the UFC under shady circumstances, however, why not get these two in a rematch on New Year’s Eve? The pair fought back in Pride in 2005 for the Heavyweight Championship, earning fight of the year honors and whilst I would not suggest they could live up to that they would certainly generate a huge publicity. Also with USADA suspending him due to his anti-doping violation a fight in Japan works right now for Cro Cop.
Kharitonov and Fedor both competed in Pride at the same time and its madness that they never competed. The closest they got was when Kharitonov fought Fedor’s brother in 2006 and suffered a loss. Kharitonov has been fighting for M-1 in the last couple of years and currently has won five fights on the bounce. He would certainly offer Fedor a tough test in his return to MMA.
Ikuhisa “Minowaman” Minowa
It’s unsure just how Rizin FF will handle proceedings given how quite the promotion has been in the lead up to its debut show. But tell me one person who follows MMA who would not tune in to Minowaman Vs Fedor and I will eat my hat. Its a fun fight for sure and wouldn’t really do anything for a returning Fedor should he win but for Rizin it would certainly draw decent numbers and put one of Japan’s most well loved fighters in the spotlight.