Though he insists things have never gotten personal, UFC president Dana White has been at odds before with both Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko, two legendary veterans who both earned their stripes under the Pride FC banner and will meet in action tonight at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
Unquestionably though, White has more ill will held for Emelianeko and his supporting crew of “crazy Russians” than Hendo on account of the fact that, for a time, The Last Emperor was Captain Dana’s white whale and he was never able to seal the deal and bring the former Pride champ into the UFC fold.
With Emelianenko’s stock having dropped in the wake of two consecutive and emphatic defeats and considering that Zuffa (the UFC’s parent company) now owns Strikeforce (the promotion which currently employs Fedor), much, if not all, of that ill will has faded.
DFW did his best to eschew personal bias when recently asked by SportsIllustrated.com his pick for tonight’s Emelianenko vs. Henderson superfight, but, if pressed, he can still find a reason or two to pick on The Last Emperor — whom he sees being in a “lose-lose” situation against Hendo.
“Well, that’s a tough one, you know, because let me tell you what: Although I don’t think Fedor is anywhere near the pound-for-pound list, and as far as heavyweights go, I’d have him toward the bottom of the top 10 and maybe just out of the top 10, here’s what I will not deny Fedor. He can punch, OK? That guy can punch and if he catches you, he can knock you out,” said White. “The other problem is, though, that he rips easy. His face gets cut very easily, you know. Dan Henderson is tough, he’s got a great chin, he’s got great cardio, and he can knock you out with either hand, too. So that’s going to be a very interesting fight.
“If I’ve got to still give Fedor his digs, my dig would be, ‘Dude, you’re fighting a 185-pounder.’ Henderson’s got a great chin, he’s durable, he’s got good wrestling, he can stay out of submissions, and all the great things I can say about Henderson, but Henderson weighs 185 pounds,” White continued. “So I actually think this fight, as far as Fedor is concerned, it’s a lose lose for him. If he knocks out Dan Henderson, he knocks out a 185-pounder. If he gets knocked out, he just got knocked out by a 185-pounder.”
Emelianenko and Henderson meet in the main event of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson tonight; don’t forget to check back on FightLine.com for our live, ongoing coverage of the event.