Alistair Overeem: “I Think Fedor Emelianenko is Not the Fedor He Was in Pride”

Written by Tom Ngo
April 15th, 2010

A day after UFC president Dana White shared his latest thoughts on Fedor Emelianenko’s resume, Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem dropped his two cents on Fedor’s declining skills and the direction M-1 Global appears to be taking him.

“I think Fedor is not the Fedor he was in Pride, like so many of that generation of fighters,” Overeem told MMAMania.com. “Fedor is the best and has beaten the best, but he is not unbeatable.

I explained this in the press before. Of course they are ducking me. I am a risk to their whole organization.”

Much has been made of Overeem’s immediate exit from the U.S. after capturing the Strikeforce heavyweight title back in November 2007. Not only has he not been back to defend his crown, but he turned into The Incredible Hulk during the process, which has many, ahem Fedor and Co., questioning the legitimacy behind achieving that kind of natural growth in such a short period of time.

“[Vadim Finkelstein, Emelianenko’s manager and M-1 Global owner] recently made comments about me being a “steroid bully,” and that’s why they do not want to fight me,” said Overeem, preparing to list the countless times he was denied a shot at the planet’s top heavyweight. “But then fighters who got caught three times with steroids in the past they want to fight.

“Or when Vadim does a co-promotion on New Years Eve, the un-ranked Hong Man Choi can be picked as an opponent for Fedor, who is 20 cm taller than me and 40 kg heavier.”

Overeem will meet Brett Rogers at “Strikeforce St. Louis: Heavy Artillery” on May 15th. If he’s able to improve upon his 32-11 (1 N/C) professional record, it sets up a potential blockbuster heavyweight scrap that could headline Strikeforce’s first pay-per-view broadcast rumored for later this year.

However for the past two months, Strikeforce and Team Fedor have been trying to “tweek” the original three-fight contract they had agreed upon less than a year ago.

The “Demolition Man” was more than happy to offer up some advice for his heavyweight counterpart by telling him to reassess his management and the downward direction they continue to lead him in.

“Fedor, you are a great fighter and like many other great Russian fighters in history, you do your talking in a ring or cage,” Overeem said. “Leave this M-1 circus and start fighting the best. It’s okay to lose sometimes, but hiding makes you look like a coward, which Fedor is not, Vadim is!

“Vadim is embarrassing all the Russians. First, not fighting Couture, and now ducking me.”

Last month, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told us that, although they have yet to come to terms with Emelianenko, he was looking forward to having their meal ticket back during the summertime to face Fabricio Werdum.

“I think things are going well. There’s good dialog. There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Coker told 5thRound.com. “I think it was good to go through this exercise, to button-up a few things. [Fedor returning in] June would be great. July would be great, but we want to get him back in a cage as soon as possible.”

Overeem actually has another idea in mind.

“I will even wonder if Fedor is fighting in June. It always is a surprise party dealing with M-1,” Overeem said in closing. “I got a nice scenario – Werdum gets injured and I have to fight Fedor in June. Just wishful thinking.”

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