One of the minor blips on MMA fans’ radar this weekend features one of the sport’s biggest stars, albeit one whose luster has faded after a trio of consecutive losses despite having as fantastic a career as possible prior to the stumbles.
On Sunday morning Stateside, Fedor Emelianenko, considered by many to be the best heavyweight fighter in Mixed Martial Arts history, will head to the ring and face former UFC title-contender Jeff Monson at an M-1 Global event in Moscow.
Emelianenko recently spoke about the scrap in a promotional press release where the typically reserved icon expressed enthusiasm about entertaining his fellow countrymen.
“I’m really happy to be fighting in Russia because most of my fights have been overseas,” Emelianenko began. “The only time I’ve fought in Russia was four years ago in St. Petersburg. I feel good and I’m looking forward to this fight.”
The bout “The Last Emperor” is referring to involved Matt Lindland and boasted the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the audience. However, regardless of where he current career may stand or whether or not any dignitaries will be on hand, Emelianenko will go out there with the same mindset he always has.
“This is my job. I always try to win each fight. I’m not fighting to prove anything to anyone. I fight; that’s what I do,” Emelianenko explained before discussing his recent struggle for in-ring success. “What happened, happened. I felt I could win each of those fights but something went wrong. Anything can happen and I prepare for each fight very seriously.”
On the topic of Monson, Emelianenko offered up respect for his adversary, saying, “I am familiar with his career. I think Jeff is a very respected and tough opponent. I am looking forward to fighting him. Each fighter is different in his own way. I have had to fight various great guys. Jeff and I will offer an entertaining fight.”
Dedicated fans can catch M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Monson live at 7:30 AM EST.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE
MMATraining Take: Though I won’t be among the early birds watching things live, specifically due to how weak the rest of the M-1 card is, I’m certainly interested in finding out how things unfold. Emelianenko obviously needs a win to silence critics whose voices will diminish depending on how dominant the performance is. If he loses, well…pour out a little liquor because the legend of Fedor will be truly dead.