MOSCOW, July 15. /TASS/. Russia’s greatest heavyweight mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Fedor Emelianenko, who announced early on Wednesday his comeback to the ring after three years in retirement, is in good physical shape and ready for the highest-level bouts, his coach Vladimir Voronov told TASS.
"Fedor is in good shape and he is absolutely ready to fight at his previous level, i.e. at the highest level," Voronov said in an interview with TASS. "Fedor sustained multiple micro-injuries and he needed time to recover, but now he feels the strength for the comeback to the ring."
Voronov said the date for the heavyweight fighter’s return to the ring had not been decided as of yet, adding that the negotiations on the issue "are currently underway."
Asked whether Emelianenko, nicknamed "The Last Emperor," was interested in return bout against UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio "Vai Cavalo" Werdum of Brazil, Voronov said "We have discussed it. I do not think it is very important."
Emelianenko, 38, took by surprise his numerous fans worldwide on early Wednesday after posting a statement on the Russian MMA Union’s official website about his decision to return to professional sports.
"It’s extremely important for any athlete to do what you love, to work out on training sessions, to prove yourself on the competitions, representing your Motherland," Emelianenko, who worked in the Russian Ministry of Sports until recently, said in his statement.
"For the time that I’ve been working for the Ministry of Sport I managed to give my contribution into development of martial arts, I cooperated with the sports federations, learnt the problems of our sport and tried to solve them as good as I could," he said. "Now I feel that it’s a high time to get back in action."
The titled fighter, who boasts a record of 38 fights on the professional ring (Won 34, Lost 4), said he would have to "do a great job to prepare myself to return in fighting."
"Now we are in the middle of negotiations between the promotion companies," Emelianenko said. "Once agreements are reached, there will be information on the date of the fight and my opponent."
Besides occupying the post of the Russian MMA Union’s president, Emelianenko also served since November of 2012 as an advisor to Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, but the ministry’s spokeswoman announced on Wednesday that the mixed martial arts fighter had resigned.
"In early July, Fedor Emelianenko resigned from the Ministry of Sports," spokeswoman Lyudmila Derevyanko told TASS on Wednesday.
Emelianenko, who is also an outstanding sambo and judo wrestler, last fought his MMA bout on June 21, 2012 against Brazil’s Pedro Rizzo defeating the Brazilian heavyweighter nicknamed ‘The Rock’ with a knockout on the second minute into the opening round.
Right after the blitz clash with Rizzo, the Russian fighter announced to the audience his decision to wrap up professional career as he said "I think the time has come and I leave."
"My family influenced my decision to leave," Emelianenko, the father of three daughters, said at that time. "Daughters are growing up without me, that is why it is high time to leave."
Born on September 28, 1976 in the town of Rubezhnoye (located currently on the territory of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic in Ukraine’s east), Emelianenko fought to champions titles throughout his career. He is the MMA Pride Fighting Championships Heavyweight Champion (2003-2007), FIAS World Combat Sambo Championship Heavyweight Champion 2002, 2005, 2007 and Russian Judo Federation National Championship bronze medalist (1998, 1999).
In 2009, US respected sports magazine Sports Illustrated named him "the top MMA fighter of the decade."
Former martial arts, wrestling, boxing and other fighting stars such as Mike Tyson and Chuck Norris, alongside with current MMA fighters Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum and Jose Aldo as well as sports editions named Fedor Emelianenko as the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all time.