Rocky 4 Ivan Drago Creed 2
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) squaring off in 1985's Rocky 4. MGM

In 2015, Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan reinvigorated the legendary Rocky franchise with the excellent Creed - a sequel and soft reboot that told the story of Jordan's Adonis 'Donnie' Johnson, son of Apollo Creed.

Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) was the legendary boxer, based on Muhammed Ali, who Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa feuded with and eventually befriended before his death in Rocky 4 at the hands of a certain Russian boxer.

That boxer's name was Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren in the cheesy 1985 classic, who it seems may be set to return in the upcoming Creed sequel.

TMZ asked Stallone about rumours that the character would return, to which the 71-year-old said: "It wouldn't be a party without Drago would it? I'm gonna punch him. You know I gotta hit Drago once."

This might hint at Balboa and Drago getting into a scrap in the upcoming sequel, but given their age don't expect that to be in the ring.

The two characters competed at the end of Rocky 4, with the Italian Stallion overcoming the odds to rein supreme and avenge his friend despite the fight taking place in Drago's native Russia, in front of a crowd (initially) baying for his blood.

Stallone started speculation regarding Drago's return earlier this year with a series of Instagram posts. It's been suggested that Drago may be coaching his son to fight Jordan's Adonis Creed, who Stallone reluctantly decided to train in the 2015 Oscar-contender.

In July, Stallone shared his notes from the writing process for Creed 2, which is still pretty far from full production given the project doesn't have a director.

It doesn't appear that Coolger, who directed and wrote Creed, will return to the director's chair however. In January 2016 he told Yahoo! Movies UK: "We'll see. It all depends on how fast the studio and Irwin [Winkler – producer] are trying to move. If they wanna move fast, and it's likely they will, my involvement would be more limited than it was on Creed."

That was over a year and a half ago however, so it could be that studio MGM is waiting for Coogler to complete work on Black Panther (out in February) before moving forward with the sequel, in an effort to entice him back.