Much has been made about the decision to book Emelianenko vs. Johnson as part of “The Last Emperor’s” farewell tour. Especially considering the fact that the bout will take place in Fedor’s home country. Many names were speculated such as Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos, and Josh Barnett.
During an interview with MMAJunkie.com, Johnson responded to the blowback and unveiled why he was chosen to share the cage with Fedor.
“I honestly didn’t even think I was going to be in the neighborhood of getting it, initially. I heard the same names everyone else did. … Since the announcement, there’s been a lot of people – it’s been not received with open arms, I guess you could say. Well, here it is: Fedor watched me fight for 25 minutes up close and personal (against Moldavsky). The same list everyone was talking about, Fedor has in front of him. He had a say in the matchmaking.
“It’s either one of two routes: He picked me because he thinks he can knock me out right away. I don’t want to think that way. I think he picked me because Fedor’s a warrior. He has a warrior mentality. … I’ll bring the fight to him. He’s not going to get a guy who is going in there to just have a name to fight Fedor. He knows he’s going to have a fight.”
Johnson was last seen in action against Valentin Moldavsky, a member of Team Fedor. Moldavsky defeated Johnson via unanimous decision to capture the interim Bellator Heavyweight Title.
Fedor hasn’t competed since Dec. 2019. He scored a first-round TKO finish over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Bellator Moscow will be held inside the VTB Arena. It’ll take place on Oct. 9.