Fedor Emelianenko: I think Jeff Monson is a game opponent (Exclusive)

Next weekend, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (32-4) will look to prove he still knows how to win fights, squaring off against the fellow MMA veteran Jeff Monson in the main event of M-1 Global’s “Battle of Legends” in Moscow, Russia. The event will mark Emelianenko’s first bout in Russia since the BodogFights encounter with the now-retired Matt Lindland.

The “black stripe” of Fedor Emelianenko‘s career started back in June of 2010 with what was then a shocking defeat to Fabricio Werdum in just 60 seconds. The negative streak continued with a painful-to-watch TKO loss to the “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva, and the latest disappointment just a few months ago against Dan “Hendo” Henderson.

Against Jeff Monson, Fedor and his team hope for a different outcome.

The main part of Emelianenko’s training camp for Jeff Monson took place in Special Sports Gym in Amstelveen, Netherlands (20 minutes from Amsterdam). I had an exciting opportunity to interview Fedor Emelianenko in Netherlands (3 hours by train from my home, up north in Groningen), ahead of what could easily be the most important fight of his illustrious MMA career. Visibly reenergized Emelianenko shared about his plans for the fight with Jeff Monson, and what he’s been concentrating on in this training camp

“I don’t like to talk about other fighter’s weaknesses. That’s something we’ll be able to find out during the fight,” he said. Jeff Monson is physically strong, and has a very good ground game, with both wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He’s a game opponent.”

It looks like working on physical strength plays a big part in Emelianenko’s preparations for Jeff Monson. “The Last Emperor” has absolutely fantastic training conditions in Special Sports, a gym that by size and the quality of its facilities reminds Denver, Colorado’s, Muscle Pharm Training Center, where Rampage Jackson prepared for his unsuccessful shot at Jon Jones‘ UFC Light Heavyweight title.

The “Jeff Monson version” of Fedor Emelianenko is much bigger than the one who fought against Dan Henderson, Antonio Silva and Fabricio Werdum. Fedor’s striking coach in the Netherlands, Peter Teijsse, revealed that “The Last Emperor” currently walks around 108kg, and could get heavier to around 110kg on a fight day with “The Snowman”.

However, Fedor refused to admit he intentionally worked on improving his muscle mass for the fight with Monson.

“I don’t know if intentionally or not, it rather happened naturally. I did a little bit of barbell workout over here, which I enjoy a lot. So I just went up in muscle mass. I always quickly gain muscle, it’s never been a problem for me.”

The fight with Jeff Monson will be Fedor’s third in 2011. Emelianenko didn’t fight three times a year since 2005, when he defending his PRIDE Heavyweight title in fight for the ages with Mirko Cro Cop.

“I prefer a tight fighting schedule,” admitted Fedor. “I’m a fighter, and as a fighter I think it’s very important to be active, to stay in shape. But unfortunately, there were certain difficulties with the promotions I used to fight for.”

M-1 Global: Battle of Legends is without a doubt the biggest Mixed Martial Arts event to ever take place in Russia. Emelianenko has a huge fan base in his homeland, while according to recent rumors, M-1 Global sold 22,000 tickets for this Saturday’s event at the Olympic Sports Complex in Moscow.

“I really hope my fight would have a positive effect on the MMA scene in Russia,” said Fedor, before sharing his advice for the young generation of Russian MMA fighters. “Still, I think there are some fighters who lay too much on their opponents, without delivering fans the exciting fight they deserve,” Fedor continued, adding the following “In my opinion, MMA fighter should be a thinking fighter. That’s the most important aspect – to think. And of course it’s very important to be well rounded. It’s great to see that a lot of young fighters keep moving in the right direction.”

Finally, Fedor Emelianenko spoke about his plans for 2012, perhaps not as a fighter, but as a family man.

“My main goal is to finish building my house, and to move there with my family. I want to be more with my family, my wife and my daughters.”

M-1 Global: Battle of Legends will take place this weekend, on Sunday, November 20th at 7:30 AM/ET – 4:30 AM/PT. The event will be aired on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN Demand, DIRECTV, DISH Network and Avail-TVN, for a suggested retail price of $29.95.


24 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Kackvogel

    Kackvogel

    November 15, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    after 3 loses i think its a good fight for him!! hope i can see more fedor fights in the future, because it was never boring!!!

  2. Profile photo of The Titan

    The Titan

    November 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    A man fighting for his family so they can have a better life. I respect this guy so much, probably the MMA fighter I respect the most. I’m not embarrassed to say that he is my favorite fighter of all time. You haters can go ahead and say he hasn’t “fought anyone” or is “overrated”.

  3. Profile photo of Ryan Ventura

    Ryan Ventura

    November 15, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Alright Anton! Bravo for this interview my friend!

  4. Profile photo of Ryan Ventura

    Ryan Ventura

    November 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    To be honest I’m looking forward to this upcoming match up and I think it could go either way. Fedor to me is still the greatest of all time and Monson is no slouch at all and could win this fight. It’ll be close.

  5. Profile photo of DeadlyIntentions93

    DeadlyIntentions93

    November 15, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Still beat the #1 all-time heavyweight in the world.

    Did it twice in dominate fashion, can’t argue that haters.

  6. Profile photo of TheMacMuch

    TheMacMuch

    November 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Fedor got huge! check it out at about 1:13 after he pushes off Mousasi

  7. Profile photo of Warheadchief

    Warheadchief

    November 15, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    If Monson wins this, it will be the last we see and hear of him! Haha.

  8. Profile photo of sambo

    sambo

    November 16, 2011 at 12:00 am

    That looks more like the Fedor i remember from Pride.
    Win, lose or retire he’s still my fav fighter to watch.

  9. Profile photo of Lowkickdodger

    Lowkickdodger

    November 16, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Nice one Anton, great pictures too. Fedor has to win this one ! I hope he submits Monson by kimura. Would bring back pride memories.

  10. Profile photo of MMAW

    MMAW

    November 16, 2011 at 1:46 am

    That would be something, but his best bet for victory is striking against Monson, just like Cormier did

  11. Profile photo of 51JD51

    51JD51

    November 16, 2011 at 4:05 am

    I agree, Monson is no push over by any means but at the same time he’s the type of opponent that can help get him back on track.

  12. Profile photo of kinosis79

    kinosis79

    November 16, 2011 at 4:20 am

    I think you meant he lost to Werdum in June 2010, not June 2009.

  13. Profile photo of newportsb

    newportsb

    November 16, 2011 at 4:45 am

    Monson was just at the gym i go to last week

  14. Profile photo of fauxartist

    fauxartist

    November 16, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Say whatever you want all you posers about Fedor ( and I’m not a nuthugger) He was always an undersized heavyweight, really a light heavyweight who fought anyone they put in front of him. He was outweighed by 30-80 lbs is most fights and never flinched. He had height disadvantages of 5 to 13 inches and still found a way to win.

    I like Fedor because he is and will always be a simple man, hard working, true to his friends, family and faith. The fighter doesn’t make the man, but the man makes the fighter. Fame hasn’t tarnished him and he has been as gracious in defeat as he has in victory.

    Win lose or draw, I wish him to retire. Not because he has nothing left ot offer but there is much more to life than work ( all the time). I think Fedor will be happier with a simple existence with family where there is no pressure.He doesnt have anything to prove and doesnt need the money.
    I have the luxury to be self employed (remodelling contractor) , and worked from home and was a stay at home dad for my son for five years until he went to kindergarden. Best time investment I ever made. Cash in your chips Fedor and be a good Husband and Father.
    Oh yeah Crush Monsoon in round one to silence everyone.

  15. Profile photo of fightgame

    fightgame

    November 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Head and heart above anyone else.

  16. Profile photo of cranestyle

    cranestyle

    November 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Sorry, but I am not buying into the M1 hype. Don’t forget all the talk about how Fedor had reinvented himself before fighting Heno.

    I understand that sometimes a fighter needs a win to build his confidence, but if he beats Monson what will it prove? Other than he can beat a fighter who is well past his prime.

    And putting on 10-20 lbs of muscle mass will only help if you upgrade your cardio to support the extra weight. The Last Emperor still looks pretty thick around the middle…

    I hope I’m wrong. I would love to see Fedor turn it around, string together some wins and get back on the big stage.

  17. Profile photo of David Saucier

    David Saucier

    November 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    great stuff about spending time with your kids, people cant understand how important that is until they have children of their own.

  18. Profile photo of MAMBA24ILL

    MAMBA24ILL

    November 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Fedor could be in the UFC right now!
    Fedor could be in the UFC right now!
    Fedor could be in the UFC right now!
    Fedor could be in the UFC right now!
    Fedor could be in the UFC right now!

  19. Profile photo of cranestyle

    cranestyle

    November 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    woops, Heno = Hendo

  20. Profile photo of japanegro23

    japanegro23

    November 16, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Fedor is past his prime too let’s be honest. It’s too late for him to go out on top. I’m just going to enjoy the last fights he gives us.

  21. Profile photo of michl

    michl

    November 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I’m afraid to say that mousasi is owning him here… makes me somehow nervous. hope he wins in big fashion.

  22. Profile photo of maratk

    maratk

    November 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    ????? ?????? ?? ??? ???????. ???? ???? ?? ????????? ??? ????? ?? ?????? ??? ?????? ??????, ???????? ?? ??????? ???? ??? ???. ??????? ?????????? ??? ????????? ????. ???? ??? ????? ???????. ?????? ????? ??????? ????? ?????????? ? ????????????, ??? ?? ???? ??????????? ???? ??????.

  23. Profile photo of badblueboy

    badblueboy

    November 17, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Parts of this interview ware published on a croatian portal index.hr.
    Lowkick worldwide! Congrats Anton!

  24. Profile photo of Anton Gurevich

    Anton Gurevich

    November 18, 2011 at 4:36 am

    Yeah… and the Monson interview as well. Also a lot of Russian websites.

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