And despite back-to-back wins overseas, news of an upcoming bout against Pedro Rizzo in June did little to convince naysayers otherwise. Perhaps it's true, from a rankings perspective, perhaps Emelianenko the heavyweight is done.
But what about Emelianenko the light heavyweight?
The stubborn Soviet slugger, who at one point had gone nearly 30 fights in the land of giants without a defeat, has long resisted any drop in body weight. But his days of competing in (but well below) the 265-pound limit -- and being successful at it -- are long gone.
As is any hope of fighting inside the Octagon.
But that could all change if the 35 year-old "Emperor" did something he's failed to do as the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) has evolved -- and that's evolve himself -- inside the cage and out.
Jimmy Greninger, Head Ultimate Trainer at the first UFC Gym and Captain of the UFC Competition Team, tells MMAmania.com the first key to that evolution, like any change in body composition, begins with diet.
Everyone knows that Fedor is a phenomenal athlete: He's fast, powerful and explosive. But if you look at his frame and body composition, he's only a six-foot tall heavyweight and fights around 233 pounds. In my opinion, he's too small for heavyweight in this era of the "Super Athlete," thus the urgency to move to 205 where he can be a serious threat for the next few years.
With proper nutrition and new methods of strength/endurance training I can have Fedor walking around lean and mean at 215 pounds, and ready for the last 10 pounds of a water weight cut -- and I can do it in less than six months.
The Caveman Diet. I would start with his nutrition, obviously looking at his body composition, I'd venture to say that Fedor is at about 13-16% body fat. That's approximately 37 pounds of fat on him. There's plenty of room to lose body fat while creating more lean muscle mass.
On my Caveman Diet, Fedor would have to go cold turkey, meaning immediately I'm cutting out all grains and sugars, dairy and legumes from his diet as well as limiting starches, keeping them at a minimum! He will go through two-to-four weeks of withdrawals and his body will ache and crave for those simple carbs like a crack fiend.
Well maybe not that bad, but it will be tough!
First, my Caveman Diet for Fedor will consist of lean meats such as buffalo, elk, venison, chicken, turkey and fish. Free-range and Omega-3 enriched animals and eggs. He will be eating approximately 200 grams of protein per day.
Secondly, fresh veggies and fruits and will now be his only complex carbohydrates and make up about 40% of his daily caloric intake. Leafy greens and veggies rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, squash, etc., will keep his glycemic load low (meaning a low impact on his blood sugar levels) as well as keeping his energy levels high.
Thirdly, Fedor will graze throughout the day on lean protein and healthy fats like we get in raw nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are concentrated "balls of energy" and contain energy rich nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, minerals, protein and healthful plant sterols.
Supplementation on the Caveman Diet?
While the Caveman didn't have a local GNC to run to, I do believe in science. Solid food is always better, but we continue to evolve and science has come up with ways to get the nutrients back into your cells faster for better recovery and performance. Think of it like this: a buffalo burger is a dead hang pull up and branched chain amino acids (BCAA's) are like a kipping pull-up. You can do them much easier, faster and you can do more of them, BUT, we need to do both!
Other great supplements include; Omega-3 fatty acids, Beta-Alanine, and Glutamine.
Foods for Emelianenko to AVOID on the Caveman diet include cereal grains, baked goods, refined sugars, dairy products, fried foods, and legumes (peanuts, beans and soy).
MMA Training with Fedor?
He has always had good work ethic in the gym but I would like to see him continue to evolve. During his weight loss period I would implement more stability/stabilization training, as well as super intense strength/endurance training. Olympic weight lifting, swimming, hypoxico altitude training and asphyxia mask training will round out the cardio/endurance portion of his new routine. I would keep Fedor's focus work with a camp rich in wrestling takedown defense, striking and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, to compliment his Sambo.
Even though Fedor will turn 36 later this year, I believe he has yet to be firing on all cylinders with proper nutrition and training. It's not too late to see the full potential of "The Last Emperor," and maybe a run for the title at 205!
Greninger is the fitness editor for the upcoming Caveman Diet handbook, written by Bob Fritz and Chris Running. Fritz is an ex-NASA Scientist whose first book on the Caveman Diet was published more than 30 years ago as well as the brain behind Muscle Milk (before selling it to CytoSport).
Sounds simple enough, but does anyone think Emelianenko is going to stray from his usual routine, something he very rarely -- if ever does -- to try the Caveman Diet (also known as the Paleolithic diet), or will he finish his career as a heavyweight?
The challenge has been issued ...