Questioning Fedor Emelianenko’s heart, drive, desire to compete and the legitimacy of his legacy in the face of his first two consecutive defeats has become the dead-horse-to-beat leading up to his Strikeforce main event bout against fellow Pride FC veteran Dan Henderson.
The two are set to square off this weekend at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois and, though he’s the underdog in the oddsmakers’ eyes, most people are predicting that Dan Henderson will take the contest, largely because of Emelianenko’s questionable mental state. Speaking with media during a pre-fight teleconference, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker explained why he thinks questions of Fedor’s legacy are overblown and also what he expects to see from the fight on Saturday night.
“Fedor’s record of having no losses over a 10-year period — that’s quite an amazing feat, I would think, in any sport, to go undefeated in 10 years,” said Coker. “To me, does it diminish where he is today? I don’t think so, because he’s still a legend in this sport. With Fedor — losses are going to happen. You know how this business goes. He fought some really good guys. Everybody knows Fabricio’s an amazing jiu-jitsu master, and ‘Bigfoot’ Silva is a giant, so he fought guys that were really good. You can’t take that away from the other guys. Do I think it diminishes Fedor and his legacy? No, I don’t.”
As Dan Henderson has postulated, Coker believes that Emelianenko’s recent losses will actually rekindle his competitive fire, making for a guns-blazing battle between the two seasoned competitors.
“I think he’s going to come out here hungry and he’s going to come looking for Dan. And I know Dan’s going to come looking for Fedor,” he said. “I believe this fight will go right to the center of the cage from round one. I think it’s going to be an amazing fight.”