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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with FEDOR EMELIANENKO
KING FEDOR
By Tony Leone for MMA Sports. Photo courtesy of Dream Stage Entertainment.

With only one loss in his extensive MMA career, and only due to a cut, Fedor Emelianenko is arguably King of the Heavyweights. His wins include Tim Sylvia, “Minotauro” Nogueira, Mirko Crocop, Kevin Randleman and Mark Coleman.

Tony: Thank you for taking the time with me for this interview Fedor?
Fedor: Thank you.

Tony: Let's go back to your early days of competition. What were some of the sports/styles you competed in before you decided to go into MMA?
Fedor: Judo and Sambo. I participated in both the Russian National Judo and sambo before I went into MMA.

Tony: What were some of your accomplishments?
Fedor: Judo and Sambo world class master of sports.

Tony: Was MMA something you considered doing?
Fedor: No, not at that time.

Tony: Going into MMA for the first time, did you ever think you would make such a big impact in the sport?
Fedor: I thought I would be able to compete successfully, but didn’t think I would make such an impact in the sport.

Tony: When the point came in your life that you knew fighting was going to be your profession, did you have the support of your family?
Fedor: My mother was very nervous about it. Masha, my daughter, used to watch my fights but now she worries a lot and doesn’t watch. She is always confident that I will win, but prefers not to watch.

Tony: Are they behind you to this day?

Fedor: Yes they are supportive. But my mother has asked if it might be time to stop fighting and take a break.

Tony: Was there a time in your life when you wanted to stop fighting?
Fedor: There was a time where I wanted to take a rest and self reflect about the rest of my future. But that was a very long time ago.

Tony: In your opinion Fedor, what makes a great fighter?
Fedor: An ability to think, to see your own mistakes, correct them and to develop as a fighter.

Tony: How important is it for a fighter to remain humble and have self respect as well as show respect for the sport where ever he/she goes?
Fedor: In my opinion it is one of the most important attributes. The physical, mental and spiritual that make up of the fighter are interconnected as one unit.

Tony: In your mind do you consider MMA an art of its own?
Fedor: I think MMA is an art, an art of many colors. To be able to handle different martial arts and to get a feel for them is an art in itself. It is an ability to discover yourself in different facets.

Tony: Aside from fighting what are some of the things you do outside the ring to get away from grueling work?
Fedor: I like to relax with friends, read a good book, watch an exciting movie, listen to music. The usual.

Tony: Did your fight you had with Tim Sylvia go as you thought it would? Or were you surprised how quickly you were able to end it?
Fedor: I don’t ever think about how a fight will go, although I always want to finish the fight as quickly as possible. I am always ready to work for the entire duration of a fight. In this case, I was happy that I was able to end the fight quickly.

Tony: It doesn’t bother you that you go through all of that incredibly hard training and then the fight only lasts 40 seconds?
Fedor: No. I try to train for every possible scenario including seizing the opportunity to end a fight earlier. And I hope everything I do in training benefits me for future fights.

Tony: Is it important for fighters to take time off so they don’t get burned out?
Fedor: Yes, it is very important. A fighter should be in constant balance and his time off should be a benefit for him.

Tony: What are some of the things you do in your training camp that help you get ready for a fight?
Fedor: I train just like any other fighter to get ready for a fight. But I know that I train harder than any other fighter.

Tony: Is dieting apart of your training?
Fedor: I don’t have any special diet. I eat about everything: meat, fish, chicken. But I don’t eat fried and fatty foods. And I don’t drink sodas. I stick with mineral water and juices.

Tony: Do you ever have days off from training?
Fedor: I have lighter workouts on Wednesday, usually just sauna on Saturdays and Sunday is a day off.

Tony: Many people ask the question. I, myself hear this question everywhere I go. Will there be and when will there be a Fedor & Randy fight? Do you find yourself caught up in the hype surrounding this potential fight?
Fedor: I don’t really think about it and don’t pay any attention to ratings or rumors or prediction. The excitement surrounding Randy and I does not correspond to reality. The reality is that much of all this is hypothetical and there is no progress because Randy had some problems with his organization and now he is back with the UFC.

Tony: Hearing this subject over and over again do you ever get sick and tired of hearing about it?
Fedor: I don’t pay attention to it.

Tony: Do you think your style matches up well with Randy?

Fedor: Our styles differ from each other. We do have some similarities but also have some differences.

Tony: If the Randy and Fedor fight never happens, is there someone else out there who has your attention for a possible fight?
Fedor: I don’t think about future opponents. This is something my manager Vadim does.

Tony: Are there any fighters out there you like to watch?
Fedor: I don’t have much time to follow a lot of fighters in my private life. But I am interested in many fighters. For example, Josh Barnett, Mirko Crocop, Nogueira, Tim Sylvia. I enjoy watching their fights.

Tony: When people call you the greatest heavyweight fighter in the world or the greatest ever. Do you agree or disagree with them?
Fedor: I try not to give these characterizations any thought and try not to attach importance to them. A man becomes complacent if he considers himself great. I try to live a normal human life. But I also appreciate the fact that martial arts fans get very excited about fighters and enjoy talking about them. And I do not want to offend my fans. I very much appreciate all of the kind words people say about me.

Tony: Should fighters consider themselves great and use that to build confidence in their fighting and training?
Fedor: The time when a fighter starts to consider himself great is the time when he is going to lose. A world class fighter who thinks he is great can lose to even a lower level fighter.

Tony: From the beginning stages of this sport to the present, do you think it’s possible that this sport will continue to grow?
Fedor: The sport is developing very fast and becoming more and more colorful, interesting and positive. The sport has tremendous potential to continue growing.

Tony: Looking at all the tough fighters in the world such as: Penn, GSP, Gomi, Machida and yourself. Have we seen the "ultimate" fighter? Have we seen the one that demonstrates the best skills in boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, judo all together?
Fedor: I don’t think so. I think the sport is still growing and evolving. Like any sport, there will always come an athlete that breaks records, or does something amazing and makes you say “wow” all over again.

Tony: And do you think because the sport has evolved so fast and the MMA training has advanced so much that there’s still more to learn?
Fedor: Of course. There is always something new to learn. There are always new methods and new directions in which a fighter needs to develop, to invent and to create.

Tony: Right now in your career, have we seen the best Fedor or is the best still yet to come?
Fedor: I feel good. We can only wait and see. Only god will tell.

Tony: Once you have reached the end of your career, what do you see yourself doing?
Fedor: I hope to stay in the sport and teach Sambo and MMA to young kids.

Tony: Any last words before you head out, Fedor?
Fedor: I am very blessed to have my fans. Thank you for your warmth, understanding and support.

Tony: Well thank you fedor for the opportunity, it was an honor talking with you and good luck in your next fight.
Fedor: Not a problem, thank you.

 

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