Shane del Rosario (above) wouldn’t mind taking a backseat to Fedor Emelianenko. | Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog.com
Shane del Rosario seemed to earn the top alternate spot for the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament when he submitted Lavar Johnson on Feb. 12.
Fedor Emelianenko lost to Antonio Silva the same night, though, and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker wasted no time in suggesting that Fedor could be the first replacement fighter if one is needed.
“It’s not that big of a deal for me,” del Rosario said recently during a “Savage Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. “I’m glad I just had an opportunity to fight on the same card as Fedor and some of these guys. To me that was a great honor. If I don’t make it into the tournament this year … it’s not a big deal. I would rather actually have another four fights this year if possible and just earn my own spot into the tournament next year.”
Del Rosario armbarred Johnson 4:31 into the first round to improve his record to 11-0. However, the 26-year-old from Irvine, Calif., believes he still needs more experience.
“I’m at 11 fights. I’d like to get to at least 15, just get more ring time,” del Rosario said. “All of my fights have been finished in the first round, which has been good. I like to get out and win right away and have an exciting fight, but I kind of lack some round time, some experience in the cage. Hopefully I can get at least four fights in this year and then kind of go from there.”
Despite his immediate success in the sport, del Rosario has maintained a patient approach. He’s willing to fight top competition, but he also understands the value in climbing the ladder one rung at a time.
“You definitely have to go into the fight game smart,” he said. “You’re not just going in and trying to fight all the time just to fight. Injuries happen. I can’t fight forever. I’m really trying to be methodical about this and really think about it. That’s why I was never really into calling out the champ right away or wanting to fight the top guy right away. I need to pay my dues and get some experience and really get to the point where I can beat those guys and stay there and make a run at the belt.”
With that said, if Strikeforce asks del Rosario to enter the heavyweight tournament, he said he’ll be ready.
“At the same time, if someone gets injured and they want me in, I’m definitely going to be training hard and coming in to fight,” he said. “I’ll definitely take the opportunity.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:27:10) with del Rosario, who also offered his thoughts on the other Strikeforce heavyweight tournament matchups.