In an interview with Sherdog, Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Dan Henderson fielded questions regarding his upcoming opponent, Fedor Emelianenko. While the two have fought for the same promotions in Pride as well as with Strikeforce, the legends’ careers have long run parallel.
When asked about requesting a fight with ‘The Last Emperor,’ Henderson denied any such doing. “I didn’t ask for this fight. It wasn’t something that I wanted really bad. They said, ‘Hey, you want to fight him?’ I said, ‘Absolutely. No problem.’ I typically say that to most opponents they ask me to fight. I’ve never had a problem fighting anybody, but this one made sense. I know the fans and media have been talking about it ever since I signed with Strikeforce.” (credit to Sherdog for some of the transcripts)
Regarding Fedor’s most recent defeat, Henderson weighed in. “I had that fight one round to each. I would’ve liked to’ve seen the doctor let it go for the third round so I could see the actual third round of that [fight]. I think Fedor would have maybe still lost. He was a little bit tired, but it would have been nice to see him try and pull it through.”
Henderson acknowledges Fedor’s legendary durability and ability to turn the tide of a fight in an instant. Despite Fedor’s recent struggles, he still sees it as a factor to consider. “Fedor’s done that a couple of times to opponents, where he’s hurt or getting beat up a little bit and then knocks them out. He’s always dangerous, no matter if he’s in shape or not. It’s something whether it’s early or late in the fight, you always got to be careful against him. That’s definitely something I’ve thought about. I have to make sure I’m patient even with the finish.”
It is clear that Henderson is approaching this fight from a professional standpoint. Though Henderson will likely be outsized in the fight, taking bouts like these are what has made Dan Henderson an all-time favorite among MMA fans. In his opponent, he is taking on one of the most popular fighters in history as well among the hardcore demographic. Despite Emelianenko’s recent defeats, his mystique and following are still very much intact.
Both fighters have among the best chins in sport history, and both are incredibly well-rounded with submissions and vicious knockout power. Both men look to finish the fight as quickly as possible, and they are both highly-honored grapplers, Henderson in wrestling, and Emelianenko in Sambo. The only potential downside to the fight Saturday is that, in the event it is not abruptly finished, it is scheduled only for 3 rounds. Few are worried about this, though, and it looks to almost-certainly be a finalist for ‘fight of the year’ awards aplenty.
The interview can be heard here at this link.
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