It is all or nothing for Fedor Emelianenko on July 30. One of the biggest MMA icons of the last decade will be fighting fellow icon Dan Henderson. According to Fedor’s manager, a third loss will likely mark the last fight for the Last Emperor.
Talk about pressure. Keep in mind that these comments are from Fedor’s management team and not from Fedor. I think it is fair to also point out that his manager says “thinks” rather than give a definitive statement. However, I think when your manager is saying what everyone is thinking, there is little chance of Fedor continuing to fight with a third loss in a row.
“I think that if Fedor loses to Dan Henderson, he will retire from Mixed Martial Arts. And like I said many times before, it will be his decision and we (M-1 Global) have no influence of any kind on whatever he decides to do. It’s all up to him.But we hope for the best. Fedor is very motivated, and will be more than ready for this fight. He has a new goal, and is fully concentrated on reaching it.”
I think it is fair to point out Fedor’s contractual status with M-1 Global here. According to past reports, this would be Fedor’s final fight on his M-1 management contract. Now he may have renewed his deal, but I don’t recall hearing or seeing that anywhere. Obviously with a third loss to a row, specifically to a 40-year old light heavyweight, Fedor’s value to M-1 as negotiating leverage for television deals, promotions, etc would take a huge hit and may end the relationship whether Fedor continues to fight or not.
Fedor also talked to the Russian sports media about his two recent losses and the ramifications of a third loss coming out of this fight.
“Two mistakes in a row is not a coincidence. I didn’t want to make the third, so that’s why I considered retirement. But then, I discussed the situation with my trainers and my spiritual father. When I returned home, I was fully convinced that it’s not the right time to retire, but to continue fighting. Our life is full of crossroads, and we always have to make the right decisions. I have no regrets about staying in the sport, and will continue fighting.”
Fedor’s legacy continues to be one of the most polarizing topics in the MMA community. I named him MMA Fighter of the Decade here at the Camel Clutch Blog, recognizing the tough opponents he fought from 2000-2010 (well 2000-2007) and more importantly the number of fights he took per year during that time frame. Others will debate that Fedor rarely faced high level competition and was more of a myth than a reality.
I don’t think anyone would argue that Fedor’s choice of opponents when Pride FC folded was certainly questionable. Yet, with a streak of 28 fights in a row without a loss, it is hard not to recognize him as the best heavyweight in MMA. I also think that it doesn’t take a genius to see that Fedor has lost a step in recent fights. I still think that the Fabricio Werdum fight was more a mental lapse or overconfidence than Fedor losing to the more skilled fighter, but the drubbing he took at the hands of Big Foot Silva was a beating that Fedor in his prime never would have had to endure.
Quite frankly I think it is pretty amazing that the guy is still fighting. At 34 years old, Fedor has fought 35 professional MMA fights, sometimes five in one year. Considering his intense training and the amount of punishment his body has absorbed over the last eleven years, I am surprised he is still fighting. Although to be fair, I think his $1.5 million salary for the Fedor vs. Henderson fight may temporarily relieve some of that pain.
Fedor is right about Henderson but you can say that about every fighter. I do think that Fedor is going to win this fight. I just think that Fedor is too big for Henderson to take down and smother on the ground. Henderson is going to be forced to stand and that is where Fedor is best. Although if Fedor’s reflexes have slowed down, Henderson could certainly pull off the win. I think it is also fair to point out that Henderson has never been knocked out.
Even with a win, Fedor is going to have some real tough choices to make. Does he take the money and sign a hybrid UFC/Strikeforce contract like Nick Diaz and finally give MMA fans the fights they have been waiting for or does he take this win over Dan Henderson and his 1.8 million and retire on his own terms?
Thanks to LowKick.com for the translations.
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