Was Fedor Emelianenko Losing a Good Thing for Strikeforce?
This past Saturday night, the consensus No. 1-ranked heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelianenko, suffered his first defeat in almost a decade.
Emelianenko was built as a mythological creature who can defeat anyone put in front of him, but but that all came to an end in 69 seconds.
On the surface, this would look like a disaster for Strikeforce, the man they have put a lot of their focus on and the man they were planning to take to Pay-Per-View, as their headliner suffered a defeat and fell out of title contention.
But for one moment, let's take a step back and look to what the mixed martial arts community would be talking about if Emelianenko had knocked out Werdum and pushed his impressive streak to 29 straight victories.
Would we be talking about Strikeforce? No, we would be discussing the outcome of the upcoming clash between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin and all the focus would be on the UFC once again.
However, due to the defeat of "The Last Emperor," still the talk of the town is Fedor Emelianenko and Strikeforce.
Twenty-four hours later, and the terms "Fedor" and "Strikeforce" were still hot topics on twitter, and personalities from the mixed martial arts community ranging from fighters to newsletters to fans chimed in on the defeat of Emelianenko.
In reality, I think the defeat of Emelianenko has been blown out of proportion by thinking that because Fedor lost, it will signal the end for Strikeforce.
Strikeforce is not Elite XC, when Seth Petruzelli knocked out Kimbo Slice, it signaled the end of that promotion; much like Elite XC, Scott Coker has headlined Fedor Emelianenko on several cards and billed him as the best on the planet.
However, in the process, Coker has continued to build new stars, including Gegard Mousasi, Muhammed Lawal, and Brett Rogers.
To assume that all credibility has been lost for Fedor Emelianenko following one defeat is foolish; take Georges St.-Pierre for example.
In 2007 Georges had captured the welterweight Championship and was seemingly on top of the world when he came accross Matt Serra, who gave him his first knockout loss.
Did this slow down Georges St.-Pierre or stop him from making his way back to the top? Of course not.
Also, if Emelianenko defeated Werdum, who would there be for him to face? The obvious pick is to match him up with Alistair Overeem.
Overeem is the reigning Strikeforce heavyweight Champion and has had his eyes fixed on facing the Russian since he knocked out Brett Rogers this past May.
However, since Werdum picked up the victory, there's still a possibility he will get the shot at Overeem before Emelianenko.
Since Emelianenko lost his bout though, he is now eligible to face lower-ranked heavyweights, which opens up the door for more entertaining bouts.
Opponents like Antonio Silva, Bobby Lashley, Andrei Arlovski, or Brett Rogers are all possible opponents for the Sambo Champion because of this defeat.
The big key to where Emelianenko's career goes from here lies with whether he re-signs under the Strikeforce banner or if he tries his luck elsewhere after his next bout.
A defeat is not always the worst thing for a career, it has been said by many before that you learn more from a defeat than you ever will from a string of victories.
Maybe this will give Emelianenko the fire he desires to push himself to cement his legacy as the best heavyweight, but only time will tell.
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