If anyone questioned Fedor Emelianenko’s future in MMA, it appears that doubt has been laid to rest.
The Russian legend not only signed a new deal with Strikeforce that will see him compete in the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, but according to his manager Vadim Finkelstein, Emelianenko, if healthy, has a long fight future ahead of him.
“If everything works out great and he’s healthy and he’s performing at the level he’s accustomed to performing then I don’t see why it won’t be beyond those fights as well,” Finkelstein told MMAWeekly.com.
Emelianenko was nominated for a spot in the Russian Parliament last year, leading many to believe his future was in politics and not fighting. The former Pride champion never said he was walking away from the sport, but his somewhat cryptic comments kept everyone guessing as to what his future might be.
Finkelstein explains that Fedor’s words are just his way of saying you never know what can happen.
“Fedor’s a person that doesn’t like to look too far in advance, and sometimes people don’t understand when he says ‘it’s God’s will’ and ‘it’s up to God to see how things turn out’ that’s a very Russian way of people saying that it all really depends on certain factors, and that’s always how he’s approached the future of his fights,” said Finkelstein. “Assuming everything works out and his health is great, and feeling fine, he could very well fight beyond the four fights and who knows where, but that’s something that’s very difficult to predict. Fedor just by nature is not someone who looks too far ahead for anything.”
Now that Fedor is slotted to come back at the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix starting in February, he’s excited to get back in the cage, but not for the goal to reclaim the spot at the world’s top fighter. That is simply not something Fedor focuses on.
“Fedor’s always been a person when asked that never considers himself the best fighter in the world, but like any fighter, when Fedor goes into that ring or that cage, he fights to win. He fights to defeat his opponent,” Finkelstein intimated. “As long as he keeps wanting to fight, I’m sure he keeps going to fight to win and not to lose. I don’t think he’s the type of person that has anything to prove, he never fought with the desire to prove anything.”
That said, both Finkestein and Emelianenko are excited about the prospects of the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. The Russian will first match-up with Brazilian Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva before a potential second-round powder keg against either Fabricio Werdum or Alistair Overeem.
“We embraced the idea, we thought it was a great idea,” Finkelstein said about the tournament. “Particularly because the tournament consists of eight of the best fighters in the world, and I think it’s a tournament that’s going to capture a worldwide audience and be something that’s very historic, and well received.”
Fedor is of course no stranger to tournaments. The former Pride champion took part in the Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix, and gained much of his notoriety from his performances during his time in Japan.
With his return bout only just over a month away, Fedor is already locked in seclusion getting in fight shape for the next test ahead.
“For the last month he’s been up in the mountains at high altitude, he’s already been training, he’s already been trying to get his body ready and functionally ready for his next fight. He’s just been doing a lot of what he usually does,” Finkelstein said.
Emelianenko returns on Feb. 12 at the IZOD Center in New Jersey where he faces Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.