Fedor Emelianenko is the current WAMMA heavyweight champion of the world, has beaten top UFC heavyweight champions and holds an MMA records of 30-1. No matter how you put it, Fedor is known for his ability to knockout and submit fighters like no other in the history of MMA. He is indeed the #1 heavyweight fighter in the world in MMA rankings, yet people continue to question his skills. Even the President of the top Mixed Martial Arts Organization, UFC’s Dana White, labels him as an “overrated” fighter. Whether or not White is right, Fedor has worked hard to gain the popularity and respect he deserves today.
On numerous occasions, Fedor has been asked why he hasn’t been fighting as much as he used to. MMA fans question whether or not he is still the same MMA fighter we all remember him from at the Japanese promotion, PrideFC. Nonetheless, he has beaten former UFC heavyweight champions Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski in his past two MMA matches. White believes that Fedor is nowhere near the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. In a recent interview, White considered Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world before Fedor. The Russian Sambo fighter explains how he has earned his reputation through years of competing and winning, so he is comfortable with his fight schedule.
Here’s a recent interview Fedor Emelianenko had with sherdog.com:
Question: You’ve been fighting less and less these days. Is there ever a desire or a restlessness in you to fight more often?
Fedor Emelianenko: I’m quite satisfied with the schedule that I have right now. I think for every fighter, there’s a time that you have to fight more often to win a reputation or to establish your name. Then after that, there comes a time when you have to prepare yourself more seriously for a certain fight, and you have more responsibility for each fight you have to fight. So, I’m pretty satisfied with the time schedule right now.
Question: Would you rather have been really fighting someone instead of just grappling with Aoki? What motivated you to take the exhibition match in the first place?
Emelianenko: Of course I want to fight in a real fight, especially in Japan. We are now in the process of negotiations with Dream and other companies, other organizations, but we have not reached any concrete decision yet. Regarding this exhibition match, I was ready to show myself to the Japanese fans — I think we’ve missed each other a lot. Of course, I wanted to show my technique to the Japanese fans, who are always supporting me.
Question: I know this has been asked before, but regarding rankings, do these things matter to you? At the end of the day, is it important to you that people know you as the best fighter in the world?
Emelianenko: I try not to pay much attention to rankings, but I want to keep my ranking just because I am performing on behalf of my country. For me, it’s more important that Russia is considered to be a strong country and not myself, personally. Regarding how I can finish my career, that all depends on God’s will. Maybe my career will finish all of a sudden, or maybe I’ll be able to continue working as a fighter as long as possible.
Question: Do you see the end as near? Or is that something you don’t think about?
Emelianenko: Of course I try not to think about it. But if you consider my age, of course it’s time for me to start thinking about it, I know. But I try not to think about it.
Question: Is fighting a “legacy in the making” for you, or is it just a job to earn money for you and your family? Or like you said just now, is it something you do to show how strong Russian fighters are? Ultimately, what is it that you fight for?
Emelianenko: MMA is everything for me — everything in my life. It’s a way I can represent my country. It’s a way I can please the fans that support me, and this is something that I can do best. So this is all. My life.
Question: Another top pound-for-pound fighter, Anderson Silva, recently defended his title at UFC 97. Did you see that fight, and if so, what did you think? What are your thoughts of the criticism leveled on him after the fight?
Emelianenko: Regrettably, I didn’t get to see the match because I was training in the mountains. And well, for those who want to criticize, I think that anything that catches their eye can be adopted for criticism. We’re not supposed to think too much about criticism.
Question: After the fight, Anderson Silva and his manager, Ed Soares, recently expressed in an interview with Yahoo an interest in possibly fighting you in the future. As a top pound-for-pound fighter yourself, what are your thoughts on Silva and a potential fight with him?
Emelianenko: He’s two classes lighter, and there’s no possibility to negotiate with fighters still in the UFC. But if there is any possibility, of course we are open to proposals.
Question: He’s said to walk around at 215 pounds — about 15 pounds lighter than you — and his contract will eventually be up someday. Is there a time in the future that you can foresee fighting him?
Emelianenko: [After taking a moment to confirm the weight issue with his interpreter]: Why not?