Scott Coker Says Josh Barnett Could Be Next For Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor Emelianenko was last seen in action in the main event of Bellator 237, defeating Rampage Jackson by first round knockout.

It is unknown exactly who is next for the fighter, but Bellator MMA President Scott Coker says Josh Barnett could be Emelianenko’s next foe.

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“The guy that keeps knocking on the door is Josh Barnett,” Coker said after the event (via Simon Head & John Morgan of MMA Junkie). “He had an unfortunate situation two weeks ago, or a week ago in Hawaii. He was sick. I’ve been texting with him, and he’s recovering and getting back. He’d like to fight end of January, but I said that’s not going to happen because L.A. is already so booked up. But we’ll get Josh in there against the same opponent (Brazil’s Ronny Markes), and we’ll see how it works out. We’ll see if it’s something Fedor wants to do. I know Barnett would like to do it. He tells me he’d like to fight Fedor, so maybe that’s a fight we can put together.”

Barnett was supposed to make his promotional debut earlier this month at Bellator 235, but was pulled from the card on fight day due to an illness.

Emelianenko could be retiring after his next two bouts are through and Coker would like to see his final battle take place in Russia.

“It’s really about what Fedor wants,” Coker said. “To me, I want him to feel respected by this sport. I feel like it’s our job to make sure that, as long as he wants to continue in this next year, we’re going to do it. If he really said he wanted to retire tonight I would’ve been all about it. I would’ve been like, ‘Hey, Fedor. Whatever you want.’ But I was in the back talking to his guys, and if we can do a fight in Moscow one day I really feel like it’s like ‘the king has returned.’ It should be a big celebration. It should be an honoring of Fedor, which he probably won’t want any of it because he’s such a humble guy. But I feel like, (after) so many great years, he’s the GOAT. He’s the GOAT, and he proved it again tonight.”

The two fighters were supposed to face each other before at the ill-fated Affliction: Trilogy event in 2009, but the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) claimed Barnett failed a drug test and the battle never took place.

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