Fedor Emelianenko is arguably one of the best heavyweight fighters in MMA today. Some even say that he could very well be the best pound for pound fighter. A debate that involves the likes of George St. Pierre and Anderson Silva.
He possesses an impressive 30-1-1 record, and has held every heavyweight title in every organization that he's fought in since becoming a professional MMA fighter back in May of 2000 in Russia.
Though even with all the impressive stats and championship wins, Fedor is kind of like the Rodney Dangerfield of mixed martial arts. He just can't get no respect.
Fedor does have his fans, but there are also a large number of people who have come out of the wood work to knock down, verbally, the 6 feet, 230 pound big man. One of Fedor's harshest critics over the past few years has been UFC President Dana White.
White and the UFC were in a heated battle to sign Emelianenko this summer with upstart MMA organization Strikeforce. But when Fedor decided to join up with Strikeforce, White let his true feelings be known.
"Fedor is a [expletive] joke," White stated after hearing about the signing. "He turns down a huge deal and the opportunity to face the best in the world to fight nobodies for no money."
That has been the knock against Fedor. That yes, he has a great record of 30-1-1, but he hasn't fought the toughest fighters in the world.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir has also come out recently with some criticisms of the Russian heavyweight. Asked if he though Fedor could beat current UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, Mir stated that he would get crushed.
Mir chimed in once again this week to criticize Fedor signing with Strikeforce, as well as Fedor's claim that he had nothing left to prove to the MMA world, and that his record should speak for itself.
“His management team, I think, is the reason he can't do what he wants to do. I think everybody, every morning should wake up with something to prove. The minute you think you don't have something to prove, retire, go home and disappear.”
Even though Fedor feels like he has nothing to prove to his critics, those same critics will be looking to the upcoming Strikeforce card to see what Fedor is made of inside the cage.
At the upcoming Strikeforce event in November, Fedor will take on Brett "Grim" Rogers. An absolute beast of a man coming in at 6'5", and weighing in at 265 pounds. Rogers also sports an impressive 10-0 record and is coming off a quick, 22 second knockout win over former UFC star Andrei Arlovski.
Though Rogers has a great opportunity to take on perhaps the world's top heavyweight, even Rodgers has taken to what has now become a very fashionable trend: Fedor Bashing.
In an interview with Sherdog Radio Network, Rogers said that he sees some holes in Fedor's game. Specifically that he can get 'sloppy.'
“There’s loopholes in everybody’s game, and in his game, the way I see it, he can sometimes get a little sloppy,” Rogers said. “He is a patient guy, but when he feels that he has to give, he kind of rushes it a little bit. Just on that, I can kinda set him up for a knockout just by faking an injury or something, just jump in and out his offense a little more than not. Hit and move. Hit and move.”
Come November it should be interesting to see what happens in the Fedor vs. Rogers Strikeforce fight. If the likes of Dana White and Frank Mir and all the other Fedor critics have been right, then it would seem that Brett Rogers has a great chance to upset the supposed top heavyweight in MMA. For Fedor, he has to come out an make an example of Rogers to shut his critics up. Anything less than a convincing, quick knockout will be considered a disappointment. As well as affirmation that perhaps the criticisms have been true all along.