JSP is very likely to return to the octagon this year, and we don’t know of the outcome yet. Let’s have a look at similar occasions when fighters return to the cage after long downtimes to prove that they still had some bullets in their gun.
Beware the outlaw!
Alexander Emelianenko is of course less popular than his brother Fedor, but he’s still been on quite a high level in martial arts. Alex had some legal problems, and the biggest gap between his fights was equal to almost 4 years. Since he lost to Dmitriy Sosnowski in 2014, Emelianenko-junior got back to fighting at the end of 2017 and show the best form in his whole career. Unfortunately, his latest fight in 2020 against Magomed Ismailov was not in his favor, Alex is not planning to slow down.
The last Emperor’s sunset.
The situation with the elder brother is completely opposite. He holds the title as one of the most dominant fighters of the noughties, but as for his career right now, well, the age is taking its toll. Fedor fought with uneven success until his resignation in 2012.
To the surprise of many, he returned in 2015 by TKO-ing Indian kickboxer Jadeep Singh. His record after the return is now 5:2, but his shape will never be the same, and all the MMA fans are noticing this. As for dangerous opponents, Fedor lost to Matt Mytrion by a scathing knockout in 2017 and doesn`t seem to have even returned to his former level.
The Axe Murderer failure
Unlike Fedor, Wanderlei Silva dominated both in the Pride and in the UFC until his disqualification in 2013 for the refusal to pass the USADA drug test. He returned on the Bellator 180 in 2017 where he fought Chael Sonnen. Ironically, they would have fought in 2013 if Silva stayed in the promotion.
For Sonnen, it was also a fight after a 4-year break, though he lost to Tito Ortiz on Bellator 170 at the beginning of 2017. Chael beat Wanderlei by the unanimous decision, but since then he won one fight and lost two. As for the Axe Murderer, he has not appeared inside the octagon since 2017.
Fighters may stay out of the octagon for different reasons. Sometimes they retire, sometimes they make a break for personal or legal reasons. How a fighter looks after a break significantly depends on his personality and age. It’s impossible to hold the lead forever, but the chances that JSP might show a decent level are huge because he’s still in his prime.
Also, you can read Kamaru Usman Defends His Welterweight Title – But at What Cost?