Fedor Emelianenko’s anticipated return to fighting may have lost some of its luster when his New Year’s Eve opponent came to light. “The Last Emperor” will reportedly face Jaideep Singh in a new Japanese fight promotion. MMAFighting first reported the news on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old Singh has 51 kickboxing fights on his resume, but only one mixed martial arts bout.
The 39-year-old Emelianenko announced his intentions to come out of retirement in July. After speculation that the Russian could end up in the UFC or Bellator MMA, Emelianenko opted to sign with Pride FC founder Nobuyuki Sakakibara’s unnamed start-up organization in Japan.
It was in Japan that Emelianenko solidified his legendary status. He held the Pride FC heavyweight title from 2003 until the organization closed its doors in 2007 after being purchased by UFC parent company Zuffa LLC.
Following Pride’s collapse, Fedor lost three consecutive bouts under the Strikeforce banner. He entered into extended negotiations with the UFC, but never came to terms. He eventually rebounded with three straight victories, mostly fighting under his own M-1 Global banner, before he retired in 2012.