Arguably number one Pound-for-Pound fighter in the World Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko arrived in Kiev to present together with Vadim Finkelstein a new competition format for “M1-Selection Eastern Europe”. Fedor Emelianenko was born in Ukraine, but it was his first time in it’s capital, Kiev, where he answered to questions regarding his life, Mixed Martial Arts and Religion, exclusively to the Ukrainian website Sport.SiteUA.
You were born in Ukraine, Luhansk region. When and why your parents decided that they are going to move to Russia?
– We moved to Russia in 1978, when I was only two years old. In Ukraine we lived in a small town called Rubizhniy near a very big Chemical Plant. My parents told me that I began to develop a very severe form of Asthma at that time, which caused them to make the decision and move to Stariy Oskol.
So how did your parents allow that a child with health problems will professionally train in Martial Arts?
– Yes, in the first two or three years I did not train in anything. In addition to the lungs problem I also had a very high blood pressure. The funny thing is when I started to train really hard – the problems began to disappear. I used to run every day for very long distances, which healed my lungs in no time.
It is your first time in Kiev. What do you expect from the city?
– I’ve always dreamt about visiting the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. This Holy place is very powerful. I am hoping to gain a very positive energy that will help me mentally and physically in my future fights.
How can you combine such a brutal sport as Mixed Martial Arts with a Christian approach to life?
– The problem is that some of the MMA fighters are the ones who make it brutal. Some people are going insane from seeing blood and some are just overflowing with hatred towards their opponent. I do not feel any of those. I think that Mixed Martial Arts is a very interesting sport where I can show my abilities and represent my country. When I enter the ring I am fighting for Jesus Christ and my homeland, but I also know that my opponent is a fighter just like me who represents his country, gym and maybe his own religion. I am simply enjoying to compete.
Do you have a personal doctor who watches your health and diet?
– No. I do not have personal doctors, dietologists or even psychologists. I learned to trust my inner feelings. When I am not fasting, I eat whatever I like and go to doctors only when I have some sort of injury, which happens mostly after the fight.
Who was your toughest opponent until today?
– It is very interesting question. In terms of preparation for the fight I think that all of them are equally the same, but if we talk about the fight itself, I think that it would be Minotauro Nogueira and Mirko Cro Cop. Although I think that Mirko was the easier one, because I’ve seen in his eyes that he is ready to give up. Minotauro Nogueira fought me with everything he had to the last second of our battle, which earned the huge amount of respect I have for him.
You used to fight for 6-7 times a year, but now we can see you only two or three times at best. Is there any special reason for that?
– The thing is that back in the day I was a young fighter who had to prove himself, gain experience and move up in the rankings. Today my body is a little bit different than it was before, as after each time I fight there is a new injury that pops-up. I am not saying that I am in a bad physical condition; I am simply not getting any younger. I do not see any reason to fight for six or seven times in one year.
Fedor Emelianenko (31-1 in MMA) is a 12-time Sambo Champion and 8-time Mixed Martial Arts Champion in PRIDE, Rings and WAMMA. “The Last Emperor” will square-off against BJJ wizard Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum at Strikeforce on April 16th.