Dan Henderson defeated Fedor Emelianenko last night in a battle for the ages, but unfortunately his victory wasn’t as clear-cut as maybe he’d have liked.
Watching the fight, it seemed clear that — while Emelianenko could have been allowed more time to recover — there wasn’t much he was going to be able to do to stop Henderson’s onslaught. The two engaged in a back and forth battle that Emelianenko seemed to be on the way to taking home, but a moment of overzealousness lead to The Last Emperor getting hit with an unexpected shot and sent face-first to the mat.
Many have expressed the feeling that the former Pride FC champion should have been given more time to recover and that the fight should only have been stopped when there was a clear end — count Emelianenko among their numbers.
“It seems to me, yes,” said the stoic Russian at the post-fight press conference when asked if he thought the bout was stopped early. “It seems to me objectively, I was ready to continue fighting.”
Unlike after his last defeat, Emelianenko didn’t seem as somber and ready to walk away. When he was asked what’s next on his plate, he joked that, owing to his three-fight losing streak, he’s due in for at least a couple of rematches at this point.
“We’ll see,” he said through a smile. “It just seems a lot of potential rematches have built up the last few fights.”
For now though, the enigmatic legend only has plans to go home to Stary Oskol and visit his newborn baby daughter. After he settles in and collects his thoughts, he’ll make a plan for his fighting future.
“Right now, what I’d like to do is return home to Russia to see my newborn daughter,” Emelianenko said. “She was just born, and I’m very fortunate for this gift in my life. With respect to MMA, I just have to think about it and decide what I’m going to do in the future. My entire adult life and young life, all I’ve known is training and fighting and competing. That’s something that I’d very much love to continue doing and I’d still like for that to be a large part of my life. But today, in my life, what’s first is my faith and my religion, and then my family. That’s what I live for.”