Fedor Emelianenko won his first fight in more than two years this weekend when he took a unanimous decision over Jeff Monson.
The victory, while not the most exciting, was still an important win for Emelianenko. With Strikeforce now falling under the Zuffa umbrella, Fedor's opportunities to fight outside of M-1 Global are quickly disappearing.
It is looking more and more like he may finish his career with a series of spectacles for crowds in Russia and Japan rather than fights that really mean something to his resume.
Which is why it is time for Dana White to step in and make one last attempt at signing "The Last Emperor."
There was rumor buzzing in the MMA community after a MMA site posted that the UFC and Fedor were negotiating a contract that would match up the Russian with former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in his debut.
Just because it isn't actually happening doesn't mean that it shouldn't.
M-1 Global and Fedor are very much aware of their current stock. Emelianenko is incredibly popular in Europe and Asia, but he is well outside the Top 10 heavyweights in the world, and his biggest bargaining chips with the UFC are gone.
White should be approaching Fedor and M-1 with the offer of large amounts of money and getting Fedor back on to the mainstream. Even though it is clear that Fedor is past his prime, he could still be spun into a big draw and make some classic fights for the hardcore fans.
Should the UFC Go After Fedor?
It is likely now more than ever that M-1 would back down on their demands of co-promotion. Even if they didn't at first, Dana White has never been afraid to play hardball.
So some may ask why would Dana White even bother at this point?
Fedor is still a huge draw in Europe and Japan. With the UFC's constant push to expand to every corner of the globe, bringing in Fedor to highlight international cards would be huge. Not to mention the extra pay-per-view buys the UFC would take in from the hardcore fans wanting to see Emelianenko in the Octagon for the first time.
The second is a little more diabolical on White's part. We can all clearly see that the Fedor of 2011 is not the terminator or ruthless destroyer that we came to love in the early half of the decade. The UFC heavyweight division has several fighters now that would be favored and would likely beat Fedor if they fought today.
Fedor's three-fight losing streak erased the mystique. The unbeatable, emotionless Emelianenko became an out of shape shell of himself.
The UFC has the ability to hype Fedor Emelianenko back to a star level. They can use his fame to capture markets they haven't been able to tap in to yet. He would be another big name to one of their weakest weight classes.
All of this with no risk to the UFC.
Sure, they would have to pay him a nice chunk of change to get him in to the UFC without co-promotion. However, even if he loses every fight he has in the UFC, it would still allow Dana White to say "I told you so."
A Fedor-UFC deal without co-promotion is a win-win situation for the UFC. At this point, there is so much to gain and so little to lose.
Getting a contract with no M-1 Global co-promotion may be difficult, it may even be impossible.
That still shouldn't stop Dana White from making one last run at "The Last Emperor."