In the sport of mixed martial arts, five-time world champion Fedor Emelianenko still reigns supreme. After nearly a decade in the fight game this Russian heavyweight, simply now known to the world as "Fedor," still has an unblemished record.
He does, however, technically have one loss on his resume from the RINGS "King of Kings" Tournament that was held in December 2000 in his fight against Ysuyoshi Kohsaka.
He sustained a cut 17 seconds into the match from an unintentional (but illegal under RINGS rules) elbow strike -- a cut bad enough to warrant a doctor stoppage. In a non-tournament fight it would have been ruled a no contest or a disqualification victory for Fedor. This is precisely why many fans and media pundits still consider him undefeated.
Recently he recorded his 31st career victory with a dominating performance over Brett Rogers at the Strikeforce: "Fedor vs. Rogers" CBS event that will likely lead to a potential 2010 match-up against either Fabricio Werdum or current Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem.
"The Last Emperor" took some time out of his schedule to discuss his most recent fight against "The Grim" including what it was like fighting in a cage for the first time, if he felt he executed his game plan and whether or not he was in any real danger in the first round of the fight.
Check it out:
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Do you feel like you executed your game plan against Brett Rogers? Did the fight play out like you anticipated?
Fedor Emelianenko: Yes, it sure did. The first round I was trying to see how he fights, which pace, how he stands and reacts, etc... to find his weak spot and then take advantage of it.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): When you were on your back in the first round and Rogers was raining down punches, how badly were you hurt and were you in real danger?
Fedor Emelianenko: I did not feel I was in real danger. Of course he hit me but it looked worse than it was. I was able to avoid a lot of the punches and I knew what I was doing.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): In hindsight, did you do enough preparation and training in the actual cage itself? Did you have any difficulty with the cage?
Fedor Emelianenko: A fight is a fight, whether it's in a cage or a ring. It doesn't matter so much to me. I trained in a cage a lot of times so I knew what to expect.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): There have been numerous reports about the injuries you sustained in the fight. How bad are the injuries to your hand and nose? What is the severity? Is either broken?
Fedor Emelianenko: No, nothing is broken. My thumb was dislocated and on my nose an old cut was opened again.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): How long do you anticipate being out before you start to train again?
Fedor Emelianenko: I am already back in training but not so much. And next week I will go on a holiday.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Which month in 2010 will you be targeting for your next fight?
Fedor Emelianenko: I don't know.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Will your next fight be in the United States or in Japan?
Fedor Emelianenko: Probably the US.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Do you have a preference whether you fight Fabricio Werdum or Alistair Overeem next?
Fedor Emelianenko: No.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Do you feel Alistair Overeem should be stripped of his Strikeforce heavyweight title at this time for failure to defend his belt since he originally won it back in November 2007?
Fedor Emelianenko: That is not for me to say.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): If you had to pick one, what would you say is your biggest weakness or a part of your game that you still need to work on even at this juncture in your career?
Fedor Emelianenko: Me and my trainers always see a lot of things that can be improved - on the ground and in stand-up. I don't think you ever can say that you can't improve yourself.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Do you look at Gegard Mousasi as your protégé and a man you are helping groom to one day follow in your footsteps and become a dominant heavyweight champion?
Fedor Emelianenko: Yes, Gegard is my friend and a very talented fighter. Of course I live in Russia and he lives in The Netherlands but we are friends and I hope he will keep winning.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): How much longer would you like to compete in MMA and when will you know it is time to hang it up for good?
Fedor Emelianenko: As long as my mind and body are good I can keep on fighting. I don't know when I will stop.
Derek Bolender is a contributor to MMAmania.com, CBSSports.com, FoxSports.com, and BleacherReport.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/DerekMMAwriter and Facebook.com/Derek.Bolender.
*** Special thanks to Jacob Schaap of M-1 Global for facilitating the interview. ***