Fedor Emelianenko will next compete in June in his home country of Russia against an as of yet unnamed opponent, but a new contender has entered the fray.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and student of legendary trainer Renzo Gracie, Rolles Gracie is now under consideration for the bout with Emelianenko on June 21 in St. Petersburg.
While there is no deal in place at this time, Gracie is one of the leading candidates to potentially land the spot against the former pound-for-pound king later this year.
With a 6-1 record overall, Rolles Gracie may have far less experience in the cage than Emelianenko, it doesn’t mean he’s not a competitor who has show drastic improvements over the last year.
Following a loss in his lone bout in the UFC, Gracie left the promotion and went back to focus on the basics and become a true MMA fighter.
Since that time, Gracie has gone 3-0 with three straight first round victories, while also adding many new pieces to his camp including boxing coach Mark Henry, who is responsible for making former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar one of the top fighters in the sport when it comes to the sweet science.
“I’m really fortunate to work with a guy like Mark Henry. He’s probably going to say he won’t admit it, but I think he’s a genius,” said Gracie in an interview with MMAWeekly.com in 2011. “So he’s bringing my boxing to the next level. It’s just a matter of time before I start knocking people out.”
“I want to get my boxing so good that people want to go to the ground with me.”
Gracie last competed at second ever One FC show in Jakarta where he finished former Pride competitor Bob Sapp with strikes in the first round.
Now Gracie is on the short list of possible opponents to face arguably the greatest heavyweight to ever compete in MMA, Fedor Emelianenko.
MMAWeekly will continue to follow this story as it develops.