Fedor Emelianenko is arguably the best MMA fighter on the planet regardless of weight. His only loss came as the result of a doctors stoppage due to a cut and was avenged in brutal fashion. He has defeated a virtual “who’s who” of heavyweight fighters including current UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Mark Hunt, Kevin Randleman, Mark Colman, and Kazuyuki Fujita. He is currently signed to a non-exclusive fight contract with M-1 Global and is seeking a highly publicized fight with Randy Couture.
Emelianenko recently sat down with Fightline.com to discuss his current status, his future with M-1 and his thoughts on a variety of issues.
Fightline.com: You were in California with Randy Couture recently to film a commercial. Is this the first time you met with Randy in person and how did the two of you get along?
Fedor: We met each other for the second time actually. Our first encounter was back in 2003 at Pride when Mirko fought Noguiera for the interim title. We got acquainted. Randy was the UFC light heavyweight champion at the time. We talked a bit, so I have only positive impressions of the man.
Fightline.com: The two of you seem to share a mutual distaste for Dana White’s business approach. What are your thoughts on how he runs the UFC and the way he chooses to structure contracts?
Fedor: I don’t know what kind of policy Dana provides in the UFC and what contracts he offers to the other fighters. But I saw the contract they offered me and we knew we couldn’t sign it. It was one-way negotiations. We tried to contact him to talk about things but he behaved in a very tactless manner. That’s the point when the negotiations are over. Since then I read everywhere on internet or in magazines how he tries to insult me saying improper things about us.
Fightline.com: If you eventually do fight Couture. How do you believe the fight will go down?
Fedor: I never try to predict the course of the fight. There is a strategy for every fight but you can never say for sure whether the strategy will be realized or not. I prepare for the fight to go to the ground, standing, strike exchange or submissions. I do what I can and then we’ll see.
Fightline.com: Many have been critical of your layoff from fighting a big name opponent. When will we see you fight against a big name heavyweight again and who are some possible opponents for you outside of Randy Couture.
Fedor: Choi is very popular in South Korea. I believe if he decides to switch to MMA on regular basis he’ll fare very well. As for the future opponent, M-1 Global is looking for a serious adversary. My next fight is planned for this spring in the USA and I expect it to be a big name.
Fightline.com: Many MMA experts and fighters such as BJ Penn have called you the best MMA fighter in the world. Who are some fighters that you watch and admire?
Fedor: I don’t admire any fighters but I hold a lot of fighters in great respect. It’s a pleasure to have an opportunity to communicate with them. I’m open to everyone that’s why everybody is open to me.
Fightline.com: Many Americans are unaware of your story; your background, influences, family life. Can you tell us a little more about your life from a personal perspective.
Fedor: Unfortunately, I got divorced with my first wife. Last December, my second wife gave birth to a daughter who we named Vasilisa. I’m extremely happy about it.
Fightline.com: You are considered by many to be the “Michael Jordan” of your sport which is a very lucrative position to be in from a financial standpoint as an athlete that does business in America. Are you aware of this and what are your plans to introduce yourself into the American sports psyche?
Fedor: To tell you the truth I haven’t thought about it. Not everything is this world spins around money. The most important thing to me is that my relatives are all fine and healthy, the children are happy and don’t undergo any hardships.
For Part II of our exclusive interview with Fedor Emelianenko, click here.