It’s Monday and the dust is still settling from the opening round of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix, which went down Saturday night in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Though Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Sergei Kharitonov both moved on to the semi-final round by scoring upset wins over Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski, respectively, most of the talk surrounding the event is focused on Emelianenko, his future and the factors that may or may not have contributed to his current two-fight skid which follows years of unblemished dominance.
Many explanations have been offered for Emelianenko’s recent downslide, ranging from the discrediting: he was always overrated and is finally getting exposed for fighting tougher competition, to the more pragmatic: he has shown evidence of his waning desire to compete recently and has not advanced his training methods as a result, reducing his ability to perform at the level he once could. The first man to legitimately defeat Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum, counts himself among that second school of thought, as he relayed to MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani following the fight.
“Maybe Fedor’s problem is the camp,” Werdum speculated. “Because he just has friends (to train with). Just the guys saying–it’s not good movement but everybody says, ‘Yeah it’s nice, Fedor, it’s nice.’ Maybe the camp is the problem with Fedor.…Maybe he doesn’t have a coach saying, ‘A little more, a little more, a little more.’ In my opinion the problem with Fedor is the camp.”
When asked if he would be open to hosting Emelianenko at his own gym, Werdum indicated that he would be and that the diversity and intensity of the training would be a good thing to shake up the borderline-reclusive Russian great’s overall game.
“For sure. Here it’s different, because in California there are a lot of gyms,” Werdum said. “Everybody has a gym. I have a gym, Rafael (Cordeiro) has a gym, ‘Babalu’ has a gym, Mark Munoz–everybody has a gym but everybody trains together.”
Emelianenko briefly expressed interest in training with different fighters for his most recently held training camp and it seemed as though UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin was close to actually joining “The Last Emperor” in preparing for Silva, though that pairing never came to fruition. It is unclear whether or not Emelianenko will take Werdum up on his offer either, as he indicated following his defeat to Silva that he may not ever compete again.