Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, one of the best and most intriguing MMA fighters competing in the sport today, is a mystery to most fans. He is forever soft-spoken and carries himself with a humility and gentleness that is belied by his cold effectiveness at beating other heavyweights down; an effectiveness that has not been witnessed by many of MMA’s newer fans. “The Last Emperor” is set to take on fellow Strikeforce contender Fabricio Werdum this weekend at the aptly named Strikeforce: Fedor Vs. Werdum event and in promotion of that fight Strikeforce released an exclusive interview with Emelianenko to possibly allow fans to better get to know the enigmatic fighter.
A veteran of over thirty mixed martial arts contests, Emelianenko’s status as the best fighter in the world (although hotly debated) is well-deserved. He has turned in some of the most amazing performances in some of the most memorable fights in mixed martial arts’ young history. However, outside of competition, Emelianenko is not exactly an MMA fan.
“I really like MMA as a sport itself,” said “The Last Emperor.” “I like to be in this sport and develop myself but I don’t like to watch fights.”
Of those memorable performances are three incredible fights against current UFC heavyweight fighter Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, the first of which Emelianenko points to as the highlight of his career.
“One of my favorite fights and the toughest fight was the first fight with [Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira because it was a very difficult fight from the physical point and the mental point and I had to do a lot of preparation for that,” said Fedor.
As for all of the accolades he receives for being one of the best, Emelianenko does not agree; he sees his MMA legacy as an effect of doing his job as well as he can and for the right reasons.
“I do not consider myself to be the strongest fighter or to be a special person,” he said. “I just come out to the ring and I do my job. I do my job as well as I can and try hard and I understand that there is my great country, which I represent, which stands behind me. There are a lot of people who pray for me and that’s why I want to be the representative of my country and I never think about greatness. I just want people to remember me as the honest person, the person who loves his motherland and who glorifies the Orthodox Russia.”
You can catch Emelianenko’s propensity for stoic destruction on June 26th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California when he takes on Brazilian jiu jitsu expert Fabricio Werdum. Also on the card is Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos who will be defending her title against Jan Finney. Cung Le and Scott Smith will revisit their memorable Strikeforce: Evolution fight and former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson will look to get one step closer to reclaiming his belt when he takes on fellow lightweight Pat Healy.