Prior to stepping into the cage on Saturday night, the majority of the MMA world didn’t know what to expect from Fedor Emelianenko – including opponent Dan Henderson. With his back pressed firmly against the wall, Emelianenko came out swinging for the fences in order to end his two-fight losing streak.
Although it’s the exact same game plan he’s employed over his last several fights, the strategy seemed to catch Hendo by surprise.
“I didn’t anticipate that at all. I was expecting a three round decision,” Henderson expressed at the post-fight press conference. “Both of us are hard to knock out. I wasn’t going to get submitted by him and I typically don’t submit guys.
“I wanted to wear him out the 1stRound, make him carry my weight around a little bit, make him worry. But he came out swinging right from the get-go and caught me off guard. I had no choice but to swing back, I guess. He definitely came to fight.”
While Emelianenko has received a tremendous amount of flack for his recent performances, he is still the sport’s most accomplished heavyweight. For those that want to continue to bash the division’s G.O.A.T., where Henderson values his latest accomplishment should speak volumes for how great “The Last Emperor” is.
“It’s probably right on top,” Henderson said of the upset special he served up last night. “I admire Fedor as a competitor. He’s very dangerous and this means a lot more to me than some of the other wins I’ve had.
“I’m a huge fan of his and I hope he continues fighting.”
Speaking of continuing to compete, although the conclusion of their blockbuster bout ended violently, it wasn’t without controversy. Some felt Emelianenko should have been given an opportunity to fight on after he face planted into the canvas, but referee Herb Dean felt otherwise.
The 2-to-1 underdog believes “the best referee in the business” did Emelianenko a favor by ending things early – if that was indeed the case.
“I felt that had the ref not stepped in, I would’ve definitely not moved off the top of him and probably knocked him unconscious,” Hendo said in closing.