‘Spider’ Declined ‘Last Emperor’ Retirement Showdown

MMA News

‘Spider’ Declined ‘Last Emperor’ Retirement Showdown

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — Anderson Silva was nearly the last opponent for his fellow all-time great, Fedor Emelianenko.

At their heights, there has arguably been none better in mixed martial arts (MMA) history than the legendary Middleweight and Heavyweight competitors. A fantasy match up between the two was never even close to a consideration for many due to the large gap in weight. Additionally, Silva was locked up in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) following his PRIDE Fighting Championship run, whereas Emelianenko simply never came to an agreement with the promotion.

Well, fast forward to 2023 and it was almost a reality inside the Bellator cage for “The Last Emperor’s” final MMA fight.

“One of the conversations with one of the fighters was Anderson,” Coker said at the Bellator 290 pre-fight press conference. “He chose to just box and he wanted to fight in a boxing match against Jake [Paul] and he said the wear and tear on his body to do MMA was too tough. So, he declined the fight.

“I don’t think that fight will happen at any level because we’ve already offered him that event,” he concluded.

Silva went on to box Paul in Oct. 2022 rather than face Emelianenko in an MMA bout, dropping a competitive unanimous decision loss to the 26-year-old star (watch highlights). “The Spider” officially fought his last MMA fight in Oct. 2020, losing a fourth-round technical knockout to Uriah Hall in what was his final UFC appearance.

This weekend (Sat., Feb. 4, 2023), Emelianenko may not get to take out a fellow iconic MMA figure, but he will get his first (and last) career opportunity at redemption. Emelianenko challenges Bellator Heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader, in the Bellator 290 main event. The bout is a rematch of their Jan. 2019 Grand Prix tournament finals clash — the fight that saw Bader crowned as the new champion.

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