MMA legend Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko tasted legitimate defeat for the first time in his career this summer, where he succumbed to a first round triangle choke delivered by Fabricio Werdum in the headlining match up of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum. That fight took place in June and Emelianenko will not have graced the inside of a cage again until the twelfth of this month, when he takes on Antonio Silva in the opening round of Strikeforce’s upcoming Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Speaking with MMAFA.tv recently, Emelianenko expressed his excitement at returning to the cage, gave his thoughts on Silva, the tournament, and the future of his career.
“I can’t wait to compete again,” Emelianenko said. “Silva is a great athlete who is skilled in many areas. He has proven to be a very worthy and dangerous opponent. My training camp has been very strong. I feel proud to be representing my country in the tournament. I’m training to win the tournament.”
Many have speculated that Emelianenko’s passion for the sport of MMA is waning and that his retirement from competition is rapidly approaching, but “The Last Emperor” told MMAFA.tv that still carries within himself the fire of competition and that he plans on competing for as long as the fire stays lit.
“I enjoy the competition of sport very much and that is what motivates me,” he said. “I will continue to compete for as long as my health and God allow me to. I look forward to getting back in the cage and performing to my highest level. For me, it does not matter which I compete against. I will prepare my best and everything else is God’s will.”
Emelianenko will headline the upcoming Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva bout, which goes down February 12th at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The card will feature another Grand Prix quarter final match up between former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov.