Fedor Emelianenko may have changed things up in his training camp prior to facing Dan Henderson this weekend, but his demeanor has remained the same: as humble and understated as ever.
The Russian heavyweight legend spoke with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani while in Hoffman Estates, Illinois gearing up for the fight and touched on a number of subjects, from the date of his eventual retirement to what it’s like working for Zuffa.
Commenting on the fact that “The Last Emperor” looks to be more slim and fit than in recent appearances, Helwani asked Fedor why he decided to trim down.
“I’m pretty much the same weight,” replied the 34-year-old. “Maybe I slimmed down just a little bit, but pretty much the same weight.”
When asked if he thought his being heavier than Henderson come fight night will play out in his favor, the Stary Oskol, Russia resident said that it remains to be seen.
“It’s really hard to say,” he said. “Sometimes, if you’re lighter and smaller it gives you an advantage.”
For the first time in his long career, Emelianenko is coming off of two losses in a row. The defeats, which came to Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva, have many questioning the PRIDE FC legend’s continued dedication to the sport — his hinting at retirement following the Silva loss did nothing to quell those queries. Helwani asked Emelianenko why he decided to fight on and the devout Christian gave a simple reply.
“With God’s help, we sat down with my teammates and my crew, my team and figured that I can still fight. So, that’s what we decided to do,” said Fedor.
When pressed to reveal when he’ll walk away from MMA, Emelianenko answered similarly.
“It’s really up to God,” he said. “I never really though about it like that, so it’s really hard to predict.”
This fight will mark the first time that Emelianenko has competed for Strikeforce since the UFC’s parent company, Zuffa, purchased the promotion in March. Given his tumultuous past with the organization and UFC president Dana White in particular, Emelianenko was asked how he felt about fighting for Zuffa.
“I don’t really think about any of that stuff,” said Fedor. “I’m a fighter and I fight, that’s not up to me.”
Emelianenko and Henderson will meet at the Sears Centre this Saturday night; don’t forget to check back on FightLine.com Saturday night for our live, ongoing coverage of the event.