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[MMA] Emelianenko looking for new challenges


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2009 the Year of Fedor?!?

Current WAMMA heavyweight champion and soon-to-be Affliction headliner Fedor Emelianenko is looking for some new challenges in 2009, and the famed Russian fighter says he wants to compete against the heavyweight division's best.

As we mentioned last week, Emelianenko and M-1 recently issued a statement discussing Brock Lesnar's victory over former UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture. And while he spent much of 2008 trying to arrange a fight with Couture, Emelianenko now instead wants a future bout with Lesnar.

In a recent interview with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), Emelianenko discussed what's in store for his fighting future, including a Jan. 24 "Day of Reckoning" main event with Andrei Arlovski, as well as his hand injury and whether retirement is something he's seriously considered.

In last week's statement, which was issued by M-1 executive Jerry Millen, company executives publicly stated their desire for a "superfight" between Emelianenko and Lesnar. They even made a bold prediction for the fight.

"In a match between Fedor and Lesnar, we do not feel that at this stage Lesnar would be able to make it out of the first round," the statement read.

However, the stipulations for the fight -- the fight would need to be a "co-promoted event between the UFC, M-1, and Affliction Entertainment" -- will make it unlikely ever to happen. The UFC doesn't co-promote fights. And given UFC President Dana White's frustrations over M-1 and Emelianenko's management team when he did explore the possibility of signing the Russian, the UFC is unlikely even to entertain discussions.

Regardless, we briefly spoke to Emelianenko about his thoughts on the fight, his upcoming bout with Arlovski, whether a hand injury that forced Emelianenko out of "Day of Reckoning's" initial October date has healed, and what challenges he awaits in 2009.

The following is a transcript of the (time-restricted) chat with Emelianenko (with translator Steve Bash).

MMAjunkie.com: In light of the recent statement in which you mentioned you'd like to fight Brock Lesnar, I'm interested to know if you saw UFC 91 and the fight between Randy Couture and Lesnar, and what your thoughts were.

Fedor Emelianenko: I think it was a good fight. It was a very interesting fight. I was very impressed with how accurate Randy was, and like a lot of fights at this level, sometimes the fights come down to which opponent takes advantage of the other opponent's mistakes, and Brock got quite lucky.

MMAjunkie.com: Do you feel Lesnar's size advantage was the determining factor in this fight?

Fedor Emelianenko: I think to some extent size makes a difference. I don't think it's the ultimate deciding factor. I think it was probably, to some extent, a factor in the fight. But it all depends on the other opponent in the ring. Some people deal with size differently. In this particular fight, it certainly played a factor.

MMAjunkie.com: Going back to what you said, you felt Lesnar may have gotten "lucky." If Lesnar and Couture were to rematch, do you believe Couture would win?

Fedor Emelianenko: I don't know. It's hard to say. It's hard to predict, but I think in reality the result could be different.

MMAjunkie.com: In the statement released by M-1, it says you're interested in a fight with Lesnar. How would you expect the fight to play out if you were to fight him?

Fedor Emelianenko: It's a difficult thing to talk about. There very well could be a time in the future I might fight Lesnar, and I can't release or divulge any secrets with the way I feel the fight would play out.

MMAjunkie.com: Again, going back to the statement, do you feel that this attention on Lesnar and Couture may overshadow your upcoming fight with Andrei Arlovski? Do you feel he could take it as you being disrespectful?

Fedor Emelianenko: No, I don't think so. In the near future, I have a fight with Arlovski. All I'm concentrating on is that fight. I don't think Andrei would be angered by the fact -- the fact is that both of us and all three of us will have careers past our next fights. And if fate were to bring Lesnar and I together, then there's no use not talking about it right now.

MMAjunkie.com: You were originally scheduled to fight Arlovski in October, but the fight was scratched due to your hand injury. Now that the fight is back on for January, I think a lot of fans are interested in knowing how the hand is doing and whether it'll be a factor in the fight.

Fedor Emelianenko: No, thank God everything with the hand is fine. I don't think the previous hand injury is going to create any problems with my next fight.

MMAjunkie.com: Aside from the Arlovski fight, assuming contracts and politics weren't an issue, what would your ideal fight schedule be for 2009?

Fedor Emelianenko: The main qualification is that I want to fight guys I haven't fought before, and I want to fight guys who are the best and are rated top 10 in the world. As long as I am able to do that in the upcoming year, then I'll be happy with how my career is continuing.

MMAjunkie.com: You're 32. Have you given any thought to a potential retirement date, or is that still a ways off?

Fedor Emelianenko: I haven't given any retirement thoughts yet. All I think about is continuing to fight. As long as I have the strength and the will, I think the right thing is for me to continue fighting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fedor wants to fight the best, and if Lesnar is the only acceptable opponent for him, I'm sure the match will eventually happen.

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It's a shame really Lesnar got the title against the out of shape Randy so that's why I hope Fedor gets him one day.

I'm starting to question if you even watched the fight. If you did, you would clearly see that he wasn't out of shape. And Brock tried taking down Randy SEVERAL times, but failed.

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I am not saying Randy looked passed it, I am just saying it had been a long time since he had fought and it would of been nice to see him a tune up bout first before facing lesnar.

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I am not saying Randy looked passed it, I am just saying it had been a long time since he had fought and it would of been nice to see him a tune up bout first before facing lesnar.

then don't say "out of shape" if you don't mean it. i live in vegas and attend randy's gym regularly. just once, i had the fantastic experience of being his wrestling dummy for an hour. i'm fairly confident that he would twist anybody here into a pretzel with minimal effort. "out of shape" might apply to many people in many situations, but not randy inside a cage.

if anything, i think that fight pointed out just how lopsided the 60lb weight range for heavyweights is getting to be. it wasn't a big problem when everybody weighed 225-235, but with monstro guys like brock showing up, something like 205 to 235 as heavyweight and 235 to 265 as a super-heavyweight would be better for safety, in the long run.

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then don't say "out of shape" if you don't mean it. i live in vegas and attend randy's gym regularly. just once, i had the fantastic experience of being his wrestling dummy for an hour. i'm fairly confident that he would twist anybody here into a pretzel with minimal effort. "out of shape" might apply to many people in many situations, but not randy inside a cage.

if anything, i think that fight pointed out just how lopsided the 60lb weight range for heavyweights is getting to be. it wasn't a big problem when everybody weighed 225-235, but with monstro guys like brock showing up, something like 205 to 235 as heavyweight and 235 to 265 as a super-heavyweight would be better for safety, in the long run.

Like Boxing, the era of large heavyweights began. With guys like Lenox, the Quitskos, etc. But the division wouldn't be nearly as intriguing if it were to be broken up.

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I am not saying Randy looked passed it, I am just saying it had been a long time since he had fought and it would of been nice to see him a tune up bout first before facing lesnar.

He also was retired for a year and then he came back and won the title against Slyvia. I mean, fighting bouts really doesn't matter. It's the training. Not the fights.

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He also was retired for a year and then he came back and won the title against Slyvia. I mean, fighting bouts really doesn't matter. It's the training. Not the fights.

As long as you're sparring hard, you're pretty close to being there. The only thing missing is the intensity that comes with the event.

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Like Boxing, the era of large heavyweights began. With guys like Lenox, the Quitskos, etc. But the division wouldn't be nearly as intriguing if it were to be broken up.

You mean the Klitsckho brothers?

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I think its a sarcastic remark if not its an awesome typo :p

I actually hate the HW league in boxing at the moment.

Quitskos, naw it was a mistake! :laugh:

You can see how much I like the HWs too.

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