Bellator MMA will be hosting an eight-man heavyweight Grand Prix, where the winner will be crowned as the new division champion. This tournament will kick-off in January 2018 and will highlight some of the biggest names of the past and present.
And on Wednesday, November 22, officials confirmed the opening-round matchups, which include the greatest of all-time Fedor Emelianenko meeting former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in the same bracket as Quinton Jackson vs. Chael Sonnen.
First round match ups announced for @BellatorMMA heavyweight Grand Prix. I’m honored to be fighting #Fedor …A living legend that I’ve wanted to compete against for many years. #Bellator is going to finally make it happen 👊🏻💥#mma pic.twitter.com/2cfs2DxhS5
— Frank Mir (@thefrankmir) November 23, 2017
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir taking on the legend Emelianenko in one of the opening rounds and that’s the kind of big game Mir is hunting in his return to MMA. In a recent interview with MMAjunkie Radio:
“It’s like being a big-game hunter. I don’t want to go out there and shoot a little quail. You want to take out the biggest and the baddest. I’ve seen so much more now, because I’ve watched so many countless hours of video of two guys fighting, actually breaking it down analytically. […] My mind has advanced even more so. It’s nice to be a fighter again. A little bit of limbo was the last year-and-a-half, not having a fight scheduled and not being able to participate. I finally get to fight again. It’s something that, when you don’t get to do what you love, it makes it even worse.”
Frank Mir vs. Emelianenko is tentatively booked for April of next year.
Frank Mir last fought in March 2016 when he lost to Mark Hunt via first-round knockout. Kicking off his big game by hunting down a GOAT candidate Fedor will add a diamond to his cap and would give him a ton of confidence running down the gauntlet. The tournament Grand Prix kicks off with a fight between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Chael Sonnen on January 20th.
Frank Mir speaking in his Phone Booth Fighting podcast:
“They told me the names that were in there, and it looks like I’ll probably be lining up with Fedor [Emelianenko], hopefully in April . It’s a huge moment. I didn’t even sleep that night thinking about it, running it through my mind, watching videos, already starting to try to pick apart his different traits and gameplans. I even told the wife, ‘What if I take off for eight-to-ten weeks and I got to Chechnya or something, Grozny, go through a training camp and really just take this as seriously as I’ve even taken any fight in my life.[…] It’s going to be interesting to finally see us face off.”