Whether it be for purposes of creating a narrative or to make things sound a touch more sensational than they truly are in order to grab an audience’s attention, there is a strong tendency by many in the MMA media to hyperbolize. Many who have written of Fedor Emelianenko’s Saturday upset loss to Fabricio Werdum have likened it to the end of an era or even the fall of a legend and while both of those descriptions hold some truth, the fact is that Fedor’s loss was an inevitability. That is not to say that Fedor’s loss to Werdum specifically was an inevitability but rather that losing eventually certainly was. Fedor has been bestowed with god-like status by MMA fans and media alike, what we all saw Saturday night was simply proof that, by his own admission, Fedor Emelianenko is a human being.
“It happens that I was made kind of an idol,” “The Last Emperor” said during the Strikeforce post-fight press conference. “Everybody loses, that happens. I’m a normal human being, as are all of us. If it is God’s will, the next fight I’ll win.”
Never breaking the ultra-calm demeanor that has become his defining characteristic, Emelianenko explained to the press in attendance how it was that he received the first true loss on his record.
“At the very beginning of the round, I hit Fabricio and I wanted to finish the fight as soon as possible and at that very moment I made a mistake,” said the Russian fighter. “Certainly there were several moments when I could escape, but I relied on myself too much and that’s why I paid for it,” said Emelianenko. “At the very moment that I had to escape, I stopped. I didn’t do that and that moment was used by Fabricio to lock his clinch, to finish locking up his legs.”
Werdum survived an early knockdown as Emelianenko bull-rushed him with punches, several of which landed solidly, and took advantage of “The Last Emperor’s” eagerness to finish him by locking up a triangle choke that forced Emelianenko to tapout. For his part, Fedor says he is sorry to have let down those who placed their belief in him and he blames himself for possibly not training as hard as he should have.
“I am very, very sorry and it’s a pity that I disappointed people that really believed in me and trusted me, but everything in this life happens for some reason,” he said. “I try to work out so that to come up to the fight in my best shape. The fight showed that maybe I didn’t work enough. Maybe I didn’t work a lot somewhere, and I didn’t manage to make all my technique become automatic. That means I will have to work more.”
Fedor’s diehard legion of fans are sure to bandy about possible reasons as to how the heavyweight great could have possibly lost but Emelianenko himself makes no such excuses, pointing out that he came into the fight in perfect health. Also, if any were worried that the loss may spur Fedor into retirement, rest assured that he will return for at least one more fight.
“My health, I’m in very good condition,” Emelianenko said. “I feel myself very, very good. I will have one more fight here. I will be continuing.”
No word on what Fedor has planned for after he fulfills his contract with Strikeforce but for his next fight he knows exactly what he would like to have happen.
“Certainly I would like to have a rematch with Fabricio,” said Emelianenko. “If he agrees, I would love to do that.”
Fedor carried the mantle of not only the best heavyweight fighter in the world but of the best fighter in the world, period, throughout most of his storied career. For now at least that mantle is no longer his to carry. While many are trying to make sense of his shocking loss or to determine exactly what his loss means, Fedor is just looking forward to going back home.
“There is some relief because tomorrow I will go back home,” he said.