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Scott Coker: Fedor Emelianenko ‘really wants’ Ryan Bader rematch before retiring

All-time heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko wants to avenge his loss to Ryan Bader before hanging up his gloves.

That’s according to Bellator President Scott Coker, who told reporters Emelianenko has lobbied to make Bader his final opponent with the Paramount Global-owned fight promotion.

“I’ll tell you that’s a fight Fedor really wants,” Coker said after Bellator 283 this past Friday. “We’ve had that conversation.

“This is his last fight on his contract. He told me he wants to retire, and I haven’t talked to Bader about it. But it’s something, that, you know, it’s hard to say no to Fedor – let’s put it that way. We’ll definitely consider it, but it’s definitely not inked or something that’s imminent. But definitely, we’ll have that conversation.”

Emelianenko, a former PRIDE champ who’s widely considered the best heavyweight of all time, began his “retirement tour” this past year with a knockout of Tim Johnson at Bellator 269 in Moscow. It was his second straight win since a knockout loss to Bader dashed his hopes of winning the promotion’s title and heavyweight grand prix.

Coker has said Russia could host Emelianenko’s final fight, but he said plans have not been finalized as of yet.

In January, Bader told MMA Junkie he is open to a rematch with Emelianenko before taking on the ex-champ’s protege, Valentin Moldavsky, at Bellator 273.

“I can see how he wouldn’t want to go out like that and want a rematch,” Bader said. “I’m open to it, but I haven’t really thought about it too much.”

Bader ended up defeating Moldavsky via unanimous decision and then went on to defend the heavyweight belt again with a decision over Cheick Kongo in May. Afterward, he called for a rematch with Linton Vassell, whom he beat in 2017 as a light heavyweight.

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