Strikeforce has put a tentative date out there for Fedor’s first fight: October 10th. The location or opponent is still a mystery, but the hot rumor being passed around the MMA sewing circle is that Ricco Rodriguez may be his first opponent. Yes, that’s Ricco Rodriguez who’s most significant win in five years has been against Ron Waterman (who beat him the first time they fought). The Ricco who’s only recent claim to fame was a stint on Celebrity Rehab. The Ricco who ballooned up to 350 pounds at one point. The Ricco who couldn’t even win the YAMMA tournament. The Ricco who tried to pawn his UFC heavyweight belt on eBay. The last time we talked about Ricco, he earned comparisons with Mark Kerr. Not a good sign.
On the other hand, this is also the Ricco who WAS a former UFC heavyweight champ. The Ricco that has beaten Andrei Arlovski, Jeff Monson (the first time anyways), and Randy Couture. The Ricco who beat Big Nog at his peak in Japan but got screwed over by the judges. So I suppose if you look at the fight in the right angle (aka ignoring the last 7 years of abject mediocrity), it makes a bit of sense.
Right now it’s just rumors, and Steve from MMA Convert is hoping that this is just the ‘trick fight’ so that when the real first opponent is named for Fedor, everyone will be so glad it wasn’t Ricco Rodriguez that we’ll give the new guy less of a hassle. But just so you know, Ricco has confirmed that he’s been approached about the fight.
The only reason I can see this fight happening is because it’s another former UFC champ for Fedor to beat. If the first fight is gonna be a throwaway anyways, you might as well find one with a silver lining and you better believe M-1 would enjoy adding another UFC champ to Fedor’s victim pile, even if Rodriguez was only champ for two seconds back in 2002.