. Dan Henderson excited about Fedor Emelianenko challenge
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Dan Henderson excited about Fedor Emelianenko challenge

Some fighters dream about fighting Fedor Emelianenko.

 For years, UFC president Dana White tried to sign him. Top MMA stars — from Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell to Brock Lesnar — have wanted to fight the legendary Russian, but talks with the UFC always have broken down.

Emelianenko, who signed with Strikeforce in 2009, went undefeated from 2001 to 2010, and his dominance, reticence and stoicism created an aura of invincibility.

Dan Henderson never believed in the Fedor Mystique.

 “I don’t really buy into that kind of stuff,” Henderson said. “I knew he was talented and tough and mentally there every fight. Those are the type of guys who are pretty consistent.” 

Henderson, 40, who also has had an impressive career — a two-time Olympic wrestler, Pride FC champion, UFC veteran, current Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion — will get his chance to fight Emelianenko on July 30 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. 

Lately, Emelianenko (31-3, 1 NC) has been on a downward slide, losing his last two fights to Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva. And retirement talk has swirled around the 34-year-old fighter. Henderson (27-8) said Emelianenko hasn’t looked like the same fighter in years.

 “I’m looking on the outside just like everyone else.” Henderson said. “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.” 

 But Henderson still holds Emelianenko in high regard and looks forward to facing someone of his stature.

“Fighting Fedor is probably one of the biggest challenges in my career . . . that excites me and motivates me,” Henderson said. “Especially when I’m doubted, that’s when I’m going to persevere more.”

Henderson and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker were in town this week to promote the card. 

Coker said tickets — on sale now — are selling better than Strikeforce’s last Hoffman Estates show in November 2009, when Emelianenko defeated Brett Rogers in the main event. Coker expects Chicago’s Russian community to turn out again to support Emelianenko. 

“We had a great reception here in Chicago,’’ Coker said. ‘‘The fans were very passionate. We’ll have the USA flags and the [Russian] flags. It will be USA vs. the Russian champ.”


fight, interview source: http://www.suntimes.com/sports/boxing/5872854-419/dan-henderson-excited-about-fedor-emelianenko-challenge.html


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- 0 + Jul 11 2011, 05:45 PM
Fedor Will Beat Henderson.

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