If there was ever a case of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” it was former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
An absolute wrecking machine during his days in Japan, Emelianenko was a scary superstar who was as humble as he was dangerous, demolishing the best heavyweight fighters in the world.
It wasn’t until Pride disappeared that Emelianenko started to show a few chinks in his usually impenetrable armor. He took a few shots early when facing former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski before laying him out with a single punch back in 2009.
Then in his first fight with Strikeforce, Fedor ended up in a battle of attrition with the much heavier Brett Rogers before finishing him off in the second round.
It was a submission loss to Fabricio Werdum, and then a punishing performance from Antonio Silva, that got everyone wondering if Fedor’s time at the top had finally come to an end.
Well, the humility that always shows through whenever Emelianenko speaks didn’t change much following the two losses. As he prepares for his upcoming showdown with Dan Henderson, the soft spoken Russian once again puts his faith in God and his trainers to prepare him for the war ahead.
“Dan is a very strong, dangerous fighter who is explosive,” Emelianenko said about Henderson in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. “He uses good striking to attack and looks to continue the fight on the ground.
“He has great speed which his rivals do not expect. I’m looking forward to competing against him. As I have done before with all opponents, I’m preparing for the battle with him very seriously, so I can be prepared for what skills he brings into the cage.”
While Fedor’s home training camp in Russia will always exist, the former top heavyweight has ventured outside of his homeland for this upcoming fight. Making two separate trips to Holland, Emelianenko mixed things up a bit to make sure he had all the tools necessary for his fight against Henderson on July 30.
“Training for a fight is never easy regardless of the opponent. I train and prepare for every contest the same so I can compete to the best of my abilities,” Emelianenko stated. “This time I have trained in Holland, in Russia, and again at the training camp in Holland. I work with people who are the best in their disciplines and are focused on preparing me for the battle with Dan Henderson.”
One thing that will never rattle Emelianenko is the pressure to win.
Despite two straight losses, the stoic Russian has the same attitude he carries into every fight, and he’s not going to change it from when he was on an unbelievable winning streak.
“I’ve drawn conclusions on what areas of my training need work and what to pay attention to in training and in battle. Training for a fight is never easy regardless of the opponent. I train and prepare for every contest the same so I can compete to the best of my abilities. Everything is God’s will so there is no pressure,” said Emelianenko.
The true test of that pressure will come in the form of Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson when he steps in the cage with Emelianenko at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson on July 30 in Chicago.