Why Fedor Shouldn't Fight Lesnar...Yet.
I think Fedor could, and would beat Lesnar, but why bother? I think other fighters could beat Lesnar too. Fedor is right, he should wait to fight Lesnar, to see if he can get to 10 wins without another loss.
Waiting will do two things—let the UFC grow under Lesnar, and let M-1 Global grow under Strikeforce. Fedor doesn't have to prove anything to anybody—and definitely doesn't need to jump on the Lesnar bandwagon just for a major payout, especially when it's bad for the Emelianenko business.
Fedor's move to partner with Strikeforce may have disappointed fans who wanted to see an Emelianenko-Lesnar showdown, but the move was, I think, brilliant. Fedor's business after all is built around his burgeoning brand, M-1 Global. Mixed martial arts is just starting to really hit the big time. Why wait?
Ten years ago, mixed martial arts was an underground cult phenomenon. There were only two places you could find MMA fights—on pay-per-view, or on video store shelves next to porn.
Now? Mixed martial arts is everywhere in every major sports outlet and all over the internet. MMA is truly becoming a global sport.
Fedor is betting on the sport, and his brand. If growth continues, M-1 is going to be worth a lot more than the money-shot Dana White offered in the long-term and will pay out even when Fedor retires.
Lesnar is beatable, and could easily lose again before he gets to 10 fights. Fedor is 30-1-1. He is a Judo and Sambo champion, and he still contends in those arenas in addition to MMA.
A long time has passed since Lesnar wasn't a showman. But a showman is exactly what Dana White needs to cement UFC and MMA in the public consciousness. Lesnar will bring his background, his style, and his brand to UFC—love him or hate him, you know who Brock Lesnar is, and you have an opinion about him, and that, my friends, is good for business.
If Lesnar loses though, it's bad for the UFC, and it's bad for Fedor if he had fought him. Let Lesnar become the established champion he thinks he is, if in fact, that's the role he'll play.
I can't take away the win against Frank Mir. Lesnar took Mir out of the game by removing basically every tool or advantage Mir had. He stayed away and traded blows, he used his weight to pin Mir down, and he didn't make any mistakes to give up a submission.
A win is a win, the plan worked, congratulations. It wasn't flashy, it wasn't brilliant, it wasn't fun to watch.
I'm on the side that thinks Fedor would be a giant killer—and I'd love to see the Russian absolutely destroy Lesnar.
But that wouldn't be good the sport, not really. The fight would be a one-shot deal and wouldn't allow the sport the growth it deserves. Let Lesnar win out to 10-1, let the contracts expire, let the sport simmer and grow, and we'll see how much Dana White offers the last emperor.
Think about that fight of the future—they both win out—the money, the publicity, the fevered publicity campaign...I can't wait.
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