by John Evans, translation by David Shuttleworth
MMAWeekly’s Korea Correspondent, John Evans, recently caught up with Fedor Emelianenko, the man almost universally regarded as the No. 1 mixed martial arts heavyweight in the world.
MMAWeekly: You will be fighting on New Year’s Eve in Tokyo, but your opponent has yet to be named. Can you confirm the rumors that you will be fighting Hong Man Choi?
Emelianenko: I cannot confirm this fight at the moment. I am ready to meet any opponent in the ring.
MMAWeekly: Jeff Monson and Josh Barnett are obviously perspective opponents as well. Do you have plans to fight either of them in a future M-1 Global promotion?
Emelianenko: I think that fights with these fighters are possible in the future. M-1 opens greater opportuinties for sportsmen.
MMAWeekly: Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White has been quoted as saying, “I don’t think Fedor is a top-five heavyweight in the world, and I’m not saying that because I didn’t get Fedor. I’ve always felt that way about Fedor and I always felt Randy Couture would beat Fedor … Fedor is a farce.” How do you feel about these comments?
Emelianenko: Dana talks a lot and uses words lightly. Let Randy Couture fight me. Allow this fight that everyone wants to take place. Me, Randy and MMA fans all over the world want it. The only obstacle is Dana.
MMAWeekly: What is your opinion of Randy Couture? He has announced publicly that at this point in his career you are the only fighter that he feels it is worth it for him to face in the ring.
Emelianenko: People want to see this fight and I want to meet him in the ring. I have the greatest respect for Randy and have always admired him. I am also thankful that he has such a high opinion of me.
MMAWeekly: Can you discuss your long-term goals in the M-1 organization? Where do you see the M-1 promotion, and Russian MMA in general, ten years from now?
Emelianenko: I trust in (M-1) and the good people that they have brought together. M-1 gives me the chance to meet champions from various organisations in the ring, instead of being restrained within the limits of one organization.
MMA has great potential in Russia. In every city there are Mix Fight clubs opening. There are fights shown on TV, including fights from Pride Fighting Championships which are shown on NTV, (one of the most popular television stations in Russia). On subscription/pay TV there is a special fight channel. The president of Russia respects our sport and attends the large events.