Fighting the world’s best heavyweight is a daunting task, especially when you’ve only had ten pro fights under your belt. Although Brett Rogers was handed his first professional loss to WAMMA champ Fedor Emelianenko on Saturday night, he’ll take it as a lesson learned to help launch his budding career.
“I learned that I just need to trust in my instincts a little bit more,” Rogers said at the “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers” post-fight presser. “I definitely saw a lot of openings. I just didn’t take them.”
Rogers had done and said everything correctly prior to entering the cage, however once that door slammed behind him, the massive heavyweight appeared to be engulfed by the big stage pressures of headlining a CBS primetime broadcast against an opponent that has been perfect through his last 26 fights.
Make that 27.
“I was kind of giving him a little more respect,” a dejected Rogers said of his 2ndRound TKO loss. “He was playing the game right. He was just real loose and I didn’t come out like I normally do. I come out aggressive and that next time I’ll come out strong, a lot more … I hurt myself by not performing the way I should have. I should have thrown my hands.”
Shoulda, woulda, coulda. That’s the same tune most of Emelianenko’s past opponents have said after being handed a loss by the Russian. However, how many times after a fight do you think Fedor thought to himself, ‘Man, if I WOULDA …, I COULDA knocked him out in 10 seconds’?
Fact of the matter is, you are allotted only so many mistakes in an MMA fight, and even less against a fighter of Emelianenko’s caliber. Hindsight is always 20/20 and the great ones are able to see things happening before they occur.
It’s not a coincidence that the greatest athletes in any sport always appear to be a step ahead of the game. One thing Rogers didn’t see inside the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois was Fedor’s lighting-fast right.
“The speed on his right hand –- I think a lot of people sleep on that,” Rogers said of the thunderous strike that ultimately ended his night. “I definitely knew that that was his punch and I’m just going to work real hard on defending that. I like to throw punches and I like to drop my hands and he kind of capitalized on that. I let him get too close.”
After the fight, it was business as usual for Emelianenko as he rattled off the same vanilla post-fight condolences to his fallen opponent, inserting the slightest bit of mojo back into their dejected system.
However, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker probably explained it best when describing his golden boy by saying, “Fedor is Fedor and he does what he does.”
And he’s now done it successfully in 31 out of 32 scraps.