8 Questions for Fedor Emelianenko

By Tony Loiseleur Apr 30, 2009
TOKYO -- Before he met Shinya Aoki in a sambo exhibition at Wednesday's M-1 Challenge card in Tokyo, I was able to catch up with Fedor Emelianenko for a short interview.

And, by “catch up,” I really do mean “catch.” Between doing a multitude of interviews for other media outlets and fulfilling his many commitments for the Japanese side of the evening's Deep/M-1 co-promotion, it was difficult to find time to talk to Emelianenko.

But “The Last Emperor” was kind enough to set aside some time to answer what few questions I could field him in our 11-minute, 41-second interview. While I couldn't ask his opinions on the upcoming Lesnar-Mir title bout, whether or not he's been in touch with the UFC or who he believes his next opponent will be, there are a few gems contained herein.

Sherdog.com: 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.

Sherdog.com: 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.

Sherdog.com: 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.

Sherdog.com: 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.

Sherdog.com: 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.

Sherdog.com: 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.

Sherdog.com: 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.

Sherdog.com: 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?

Translation by Junpei Takahashi
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