Dan Henderson: Fedor Emelianenko Has Not Improved Since Exiting Pride

Todd SeylerContributor IJuly 16, 2011

According to MMAjunkie.com, Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson commented on his upcoming matchup with MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko.

Both Henderson and Emelianenko have shared similar success paths within the sport.  The two competed for the Rings promotion at the turn of the century and both successful fighters achieved championship level status within the Pride organization.

11 years later, both icons are on seemingly different paths in their respective futures. Henderson is riding a tremendous wave of momentum, 5-1 in his last six fights.

In his most recent matchup, Henderson defeated Rafael Cavalcante by TKO in March of 2011 to secure the championship belt.

Conversely, Emelianenko has suffered back-to-back defeats to Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Fabricio Werdum and the underrated Antonio Silva; both losses are the first two defeats in Emelianenko's hall-of-fame career.

Regardless of their most recent success, both Henderson and Emelianenko are pioneers in the sport of mixed martial arts blazing their own individual paths of success.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMAjunkie.com, "pound-for-pound, these two are really on the all-time list of greatest fighters, ever, in their respective weight classes."

With adulation and praise provided both superstars, Coker did mention how a third successive defeat could tarnish Emelianko's legacy. 

"I don't want to judge Fedor one way or the other, but I would say having three losses in a row would diminish the value tremendously," Coker said.

Declining to comment specifically on the hardship befallen Emelianenko, Henderson did state that,"I think the fact that it seems like his game hasn't changed or gotten better in the last two or three years or since he left PRIDE (might be part of the issue). I don't know. It doesn't seem like his heart is into it the last couple of years. That changes outcomes of fights sometimes."

Could this be Emelianenko's last stand within the Octagon? Only time will tell. Regardless of the victor, both MMA legends have secured a place in ultimate fighting lore and will be well-received by fight fans for years to come for their dedication and performances inside the cage. 

"Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson" takes place July 30 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois and will be televised on Showtime.

I welcome your comments.

Todd Seyler. Like me on Facebook and/or Follow me on Twitter