Speculation has been running rampant that Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Dan Henderson will face former Pride Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko this coming June.
The question that is on everyone’s mind is whether or not Fedor will make the necessary adjustments and cut down to the light heavyweight limit of 205 lbs.
Emelianenko has always been considered an undersized heavyweight, and that was before the days of Brock Lesnar, Shaner Carwin and Alistair Overeem burst onto the scene.
Those three fighters are just a few of the newer crop of heavyweights who must cut down just to make the 265 lb division limit.
While he was fighting in Pride, Emelianenko faced off against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mirko “Cro-Cop” Filipovic, Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman. Fighters who were in the same weight range as he was.
When he was matched up against bigger fighters it was usually some sort of circus bout. The Japanese fans loved to watch freak show fights, and Fedor was the man to chop them down to size.
Men like Hong Man Choi and Zuluzinho were fighters who outweighed Fedor by more than 100 lbs, but did not have the talent or the heart that the Russian had.
When Fedor started fighting in America after Pride had been bought out by the UFC, he faced Tim Sylvia. Despite being outweighed by nearly 50 lbs, Fedor dominated Sylvia and needed just 36 seconds to choke him out.
After defeating Andrei Arlovski, Emelianenko took on the much bigger Brett Rogers in his Strikeforce debut in November of 2009.
The size difference gave Emelianenko fits, but he survived a scary first round to knockout Rogers and hand him the first defeat of his career.
His loss to Werdum had little to do with size and more to do with his cockiness and the excellent BJJ game possessed by Werdum.
Everyone gets caught, it was bound to happen sooner or later, and everyone expected Fedor to regroup and roll through his next opponent Antoni Silva in the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
This is where it had become painfully obvious that Fedor could no longer use his guile and talent to overcome a much bigger fighter.
Silva took Fedor down in the second round and battered his opponent so badly that the ringside physicians would not allow Emelianenko to come out for the third round due to his eye being swollen shut.
No longer were people wondering if it was just the size difference, they were wondering if Fedor was finished.
He is too big of a name, and at the age of 34 he still has some good years ahead of him, but he must make a new commitment to training and drop down to the light heavyweight division.
It seems as though Fedor will be facing Henderson in June, but much to the surprise of many, this bout will be contested at a catch weight bout of 220 lbs.
What is that going to prove? Even if he wins, he will still be too small to take on Overeem, Barnett and possibly Rogers once again.
The aura of invincibility is gone and fighters no longer will fear him like they once did.
His frame is perfectly suited for the light heavyweight division. Standing just six feet tall and having some extra weight around his waist, Fedor shouldn’t have a difficult cut; in fact his body would probably look and feel a lot younger should he decide to make the move.
Matching up against Henderson at 205 lbs is a good test for Fedor, but unfortunately he does not want to accept the challenge.
Is it because he is lazy or likes to eat what he wants? Judging by his career one would think he wouldn’t have gotten this far without hard work and supreme dedication.
If he wants to test the waters and work his way down to 205 lbs, why not match up with someone other than the division’s champion? Why is Strikeforce basically putting the division’s title on the shelf?
Once again they are placating to Fedor and M-1 Global rather than telling him they are in charge and they make the decisions.
I for one would love to see Henderson and Fedor go at it, but only if it’s at 205 lbs and the title is on the line. Otherwise the bout just doesn’t make any sense.