The world’s top ranked Heavyweight spoke for seemingly the first time at Affliction:Banned’s official press conference. The reserved and respectful fighter prefers to stay out of the spotlight, however his talents will never allow it. Emelianenko now takes his MMA skills to the new stage of Affliction this Saturday against Tim Sylvia.
The first topic of conversation for Emelianenko was to quickly dispel the rumor that he suffered an injury during training that might threaten the fight or his performance in it.
“No, there weren’t any serious injuries or anything,” Emelianenko told 5thRound.com through his Russian translator. “Every fighter has little aches and pains and minor injuries that occur during training camp, but nothing major.”
He and Sylvia will be battling for the WAMMA Heavyweight Title belt, the first attempt by any organization to unify the 265-pound world title. As the best in the world, he has a closet full of trophies and belts, so adding another one isn’t a priority. It is now more about the quality of the opponent, and challenging himself against them.
“I’m glad that it is a title fight, but the most important thing is that he (Sylvia) is very highly rated,” Emelianenko stated. “The fact that it is for a title, I am happy, but that two highly rated fighters are fighting each other (is what is important).”
Sylvia has spent the better part of the last six years fighting for the biggest MMA organization in the world. He posted an 8-2 record for the UFC, and held their Heavyweight title on two separate occasions. However, to Emelianenko, a resume like that does not warrant the quality of a fighter. It is more of who they have competed against and beaten.
“Realistically, it doesn’t make a difference for me if the fighter comes from the UFC or not,” Emelianenko said about Sylvia’s accomplishments with the MMA powerhouse. “The UFC doesn’t play a role in that. What’s most important is that the fighter that I am fighting against is of high caliber and a world class fighter, (which Sylvia is).”
A couple of years ago, there was a bitter rivalry between Emelianenko’s former promotion, PrideFC, and Sylvia’s former, the UFC. As both fighters simultaneously carried the belts for their respective organizations, questions always arose as to which organization possessed the better fighters.
When asked if he thought that this might be a great chance to answer that question, Emelianenko didn’t think the winner of this fight would prove that.
“I think that it is an empty conversation in a sense that I don’t feel that I have any rivalries or conflicts with any fighters, regardless of what organization they come from,” he said. “I have a great deal of respect for all fighters and it doesn’t really matter where the fighters come from. I don’t have any animosity towards anyone, regardless of their connections.”
Respected, revered and feared. He is now in the business of adding names to his accomplishments, not belts.