ByJustin Golightly, writer at
Design wizard. MMA mathematician. Formerly of Middle Easy, Justin Golightly has been featured on Bleacher Report, Uproxx and TMZ.
Justin Golightly

The world is only a month away from the first round of Rizin's 16-Man Openweight Grand Prix, and tension is building.

Rizin's CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara has been supplying lots of social media updates recently, but still the biggest "what if" lingering is Fedor Emelianenko's rumored appearance in the tournament.

At some point after Cro Cop was looking for Pokémon, it seems like he found a fan-made poster insinuating that he and Emelanenko would fight in the first round of the tournament. Even after Crop Cop talked to Ariel Helwani about it on the MMA Hour, the source of the image remains unclear if it was officially from Rizin or not.

"If you think Fedor, it wont be Fedor," Cro Cop told Helwani. "There was a poster made with Fedor and my face, and it said, ‘Rizin opening round September 25', but it's just kinda commercial, you know. I don't think Fedor will actually participate in the tournament."

Just because Cro Cop doesn't believe he will fight Emelianeko in in the Grand Prix, does't necessarily mean he rules out a future fight with the Last Emperor.

"Of course I would like [the opportunity to fight Fedor], but I don't think he will participate. That's my opinion. I didn't ask nobody and nobody has told me anything, but I don't think he'll participate in the tournament," Cro Cop said.

Check out Cro Cop's appearance on the MMA Hour below and read the comprehensive guide on everything Champions knows so far about the Grand Prix. Since that was published, Rizin has confirmed five more entrants into the tournament, leaving only three coveted spots left.

Jiri Prochazka, Amir Aliakbari (initially confirmed by, Teodoras Aukstuolis, Karl Albrektsson, and Valentine Moldavski.


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