Come heavy, or not at all.
Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Dan Henderson is hoping a "rejuvenated" Fedor Emelianenko will bring the noise when they hook 'em up at the Strikeforce: "Fedor vs. Henderson" event set to go down on July 30, 2011, at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
This is mixed martial arts (MMA) and like Big Daddy Kane once said: Ain't no half steppin'.
Emelianenko (31-3) was bounced from the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament earlier this year after the cageside doctor deemed him unfit to answer the bell for round three of his quarterfinal bout against Antonio Silva.
Aside from the shock of his second consecutive loss, it was clear "The Last Emperor" was being manhandled for most of the fight, leaving many fans wondering if what was once considered the greatest heavyweight MMA fighter in history was outdated and overmatched.
Or was his performance a direct result of a lackadaisical effort in training camp? Henderson drops some knowledge on The Chicago Sun Times:
"I don’t really buy into that kind of [mystique] stuff. I knew he was talented and tough and mentally there every fight. Those are the type of guys who are pretty consistent. I’m looking on the outside just like everyone else. His heart hasn’t been into it. He’s hardly trained in the last few years. Ever since Pride ended [in 2007], he hasn’t put much into his training. That’s what shows. I’m hoping he gets rejuvenated when he comes in. I’d like that. Fighting Fedor is probably one of the biggest challenges in my career . . . that excites me and motivates me. Especially when I’m doubted, that’s when I’m going to persevere more."
Henderson, also a former PRIDE star, knows a thing or two about being counted out.
After an uninspiring debut saw him fall short against Jake Shields at Strikeforce: "Nashville" back in 2010, "Hollywood" (27-8) redeemed himself by knocking out Renato "Babalu" Sobral in St. Louis later that year.
The win was enough to earn him a title shot against division champion Rafael Cavalcante back on March 5 and "Hendo" made the most of the opportunity by knocking out "Feijao" with an "H-bomb" in the third round.
With Strikeforce suffering from a lack of depth in its 205-pound division, Henderson immediately set his sights on the down-but-not-out Emelianenko, who may be one loss away from permanently hanging up the gloves.
Whaddaya say Maniacs, is Hendo biting off more than he can chew? Or will he send the Russian back behind the iron curtain for good?
How do you see this one unfolding?