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What’s Next for Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum beat Fedor Emelianenko and sent the MMA world into a frenzy. The Fedor haters and supporters are all buzzing about Fedor’s next fight. Was the loss the end or a turning point for Fedor Emelianenko? It doesn’t look like we will have to wait long for the answer.

Going into the Werdum vs. Fedor fight on Saturday night, there were a ton of reports about Fedor going into politics after the fight. The loss appears to have lit a fire under Fedor Emelianenko and quelled those aspirations for now. Fabricio Werdum, Fedor Emelianenko, and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker all talked of an immediate rematch up next for Fedor. Other than the paper work it appears that Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor Emelianenko II is all but a go.

The rematch would give Fedor an immediate opportunity to avenge the loss and quiet his critics. Fedor haters came out in droves over the weekend. I think the idea that Fedor is a fraud after suffering one loss in ten years is ridiculous. Fedor ran up 30 wins in a row and hasn’t lost a fight in 10 years. I don’t remember anyone calling Georges St. Pierre a fraud when he got caught by Matt Serra. Things like this happen and even the best get caught. If Fedor is not the best heavyweight in the world than who is? Brock Lesnar? He lost his first UFC fight? Fabricio Werdum? He lost to Junior dos Santos and Andrei Arlovski? Shane Carwin? I just don’t think one loss somehow exposes you as a fraud. A second loss wouldn’t necessarily expose Fedor as a fraud, but it would be a good indicator that age has likely caught up with Fedor.

Quite frankly you could see this loss coming for awhile. Fedor hasn’t dominated a fight in years. Fedor was caught early by Brett Rogers and came very close to losing. Andrei Arlovski rocked him with a flying knee in their bout a few years ago. It is highly possible that Josh Barnett would have defeated Fedor if he hadn’t got popped for a dirty drug test. It has been a long time since Fedor walked into a fight and won without issue. He almost did Saturday night. Keep in mind, Fabricio was on the ground after rocked by strikes. The punching power is still there. Fedor just made a terrible mistake. He may not be the greatest MMA fighter in the world anymore, but he is certainly still one of the best.

Scott Coker talked at the post-fight press conference about putting Werdum vs. Fedor 2 on pay-per-view. I am highly skeptical that a rematch would do much business on pay-per-view. Fedor has never been a draw on pay-per-view in the United States. As popular as Fedor was on Saturday night, he drew less of a live crowd than Gina Carano. Neither one of these guys will cut promos that will get people excited about a rematch. I think Strikeforce could do a monster rating on CBS with the rematch. It is all up to CBS as to whether they agree or disagree with that statement and decide they want to give Strikeforce another shot on the big network.

As for the future of Fedor Emelianenko, I think it is fair to speculate. He has one fight left on his Strikeforce deal and one fight left on his business deal with M1 Global. Anyone that thinks that he won’t have an option to sign with the UFC after one loss is out of their minds. Seeing Fedor Emelianenko in the UFC is still big money. He certainly won’t be offered that mega $30 million deal he had on the table last summer and rightfully so. The value on return he would have brought to the UFC as an undefeated fighter over the last ten years isn’t there anymore. Is the UFC going to cut Brock Lesnar if he loses Saturday? The UFC would still take him in a second. But he certainly won’t have the same financial options he had in previous negotiations where the myth was much larger than the fighter.

Dana White was gloating after the fight about the loss. He is an idiot. There is nothing funny about watching your best opportunity at a blockbuster fight tap to a triangle. Arguably the UFC is the biggest loser coming out of the Strikeforce shocker. Fedor will still make big money fighting, but millions of dollars that the UFC would have made on a Brock vs. Fedor series have disappeared. Don’t get me wrong, a Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar would still sell even if Fedor loses the rematch to Werdum. However, before the loss Fedor vs. Brock was the best fight that the UFC would have ever had at breaking two million buys. I’d cut that in half right about now.

Whether you like Fedor or not, it is a relief to know that he still plans to continue fighting. At 33 he is still young, but getting close to the end in fight age. One loss should certainly not tarnish an entire legacy of dominance through an entire decade. Two losses won’t either. He would still be a favorite against all but a handful of MMA heavyweights. Sometimes a loss is a good thing. It can alleviate the pressure of taking a 30 fight win streak into a ring with you and the pressures that come with being labeled a legend.

If you thought Fedor the legend was dangerous, Fedor the ordinary fighter could turn out to be a monster.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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