If five-time World's Strongest Man contest winner Mariusz Pudzianowski had grown up on a wrestling mat, he might be on to something. Instead, the melon-biceped Pudzianowski is counting on some contrite striking and pickup grappling to become a contender. And according to Pudzianowski himself on LowKick.com, he's a possible threat to Fedor Emelianenko.
"I love the idea of starting my United States experience from Tim Sylvia," Pudzianowski said of his upcoming "Moosin: God of Martial Arts" bout, scheduled for May 21. "He is a serious opponent, and I prepare to prove to everyone that I am the real deal in mixed martial arts. In two years from now, I would love to fight Fedor Emelianenko. He will rip my head off if we fight today, but in two years it could be a different story."
OK. Look, Pudzianowski is a giant ball of muscle fiber. You might not get him in an armbar. His cardiovascular conditioning is impressive in the strongman competitions, which resembles MMA in its interval bursts of all-out effort. Being a fantastic athlete can never hurt.
But there are miles and miles of separation between the muscles required to launch a beer keg in the air and the muscular memory that comes from wrestling, grappling and striking for decades at a stretch. This may not come into play against a lumbering Sylvia, but if Pudzianowski decides to test himself against someone whose body is adapted to fighting, it's not going to matter that he can drag a propeller plane behind him. "Wrestling strong" isn't "gym strong" isn't "strongman strong." If you're playing any game but your own, you've got problems.