MMA legend Dan Henderson is currently preparing to face a fellow Pride FC veteran in Fedor Emelianenko in what will be one of Strikeforce’s most high-profile fights this year.
The 40-year-old former Olympian recently spoke with the Chicago Sun-Times about his impending fight with “The Last Emperor” and revealed that he believed it will be one of the biggest and potentially toughest of his life.
“Fighting Fedor is probably one of the biggest challenges in my career… that excites me and motivates me,” Henderson said. ”Especially when I’m doubted, that’s when I’m going to persevere more.”
Remaining essentially undefeated over his first thirty-two bouts, Fedor Emelianenko cultivated a sort of invulnerable aura which was recently shattered by two consecutive defeats to Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva. Henderson believes, like many, that Fedor’s recent performances are indicative of the fact that he has lost some of his desire to compete.
“I’m looking on the outside just like everyone else,” Henderson said. “His heart hasn’t been into it. He’s hardly trained in the last few years. Ever since Pride ended [in 2007], he hasn’t put much into his training. That’s what shows. I’m hoping he gets rejuvenated when he comes in. I’d like that.”
The word from Fedor’s camp is that he will likely retire if he should lose to Henderson this July 30 at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois when they meet. It will be interesting to see if the Russian legend can muster the kind of competitive fire which had many calling him the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world in recent years.