HENDO vs. FEDOR: Should It Happen?
When I first heard of this match up, it sounded like a perfect fit: two legends of the sport who have never faced each other despite being in the same promotion for years! Granted, they are not in the same weight class, but since when did petty things like that concern Pride FC? Dan “Hendo” Henderson faced (and lost to, via arm bar) Antonio Rodrigo Nogiera (a heavyweight), so it wouldn’t have been totally out of the question. They were both champs in Pride at the same time, so perhaps that’s why. Both wore the Pride Championships in their respective weight class when the organization was bought by the UFC a couple of years ago. In fact, Hendo was both Light Heavyweight & Middleweight Champion at that time and unified those belts with consecutive losses to Quinton Jackson and Anderson Silva respectively upon entering the UFC.
So, they both dominated their divisions at the same time and now time has come for a potential Super Fight. There’s nothing more intriguing than a dream match between two former champions who have been dominating the scene for so long, right? Not so fast.
Hendo is 5-3 in his last eight matches (7-4 in his last eleven), and while that certainly isn’t bad, it is also not the Dan Henderson of old, who went 13-5 in Pride and only lost to the Nogeira brothers, Ricardo Arona, Wanderlei Silva and Kazuo Misaki (whom he beat four months previously). He also avenged the Silva loss, making his first and last matches for the promotion against the same guy. Hendo has been pretty consistent with his wins, although when facing off against the very top-tier in MMA in the last years, he has usually come up short.
Next: Fedor Emilianenko. A legend in the sport if there ever was one! He went ten years without a single defeat (save for a controversial doctor’s stoppage due to cuts against Tsuyoshi Kosaka and a NC [no contest] against Big Nog, which really isn’t a loss). Detractors maintain that he faced a couple of over-matched opponents in freak show matches, but you can’t argue with wins over Big Nog, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Cro-Cop and Ricardo Arona. Consider that this was back in a time when all fighters were in their absolute prime and considered Top 5 or Top 10 in the world! Lately, Fedor’s opponents have been neither. Since leaving Pride when it folded, Fedor has beat an aging Matt Lindland, a giant-and-not-much-more Hong Man Choi, overrated Tim Sylvia and, as it turns out, Andrei Arlovski (I still contend that his fight-ending punch against Andrei, who up until that point was winning the fight, was a lucky shot. Sure, you have to have the feeling for when to throw, how to connect and so on. But if you look at Fedor’s eyes, they were closed long before the Pit Bull came with that ill-timed flying knee and was met with a hard overhead right KO punch), and an over-matched Brett Rogers. Then came the two losses against Fabricio Werdum and, recently, the “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva.
The question is, has time passed the Last Emperor by? Was Fedor really that good to begin with? It probably has and he probably was. What really upsets me are the talks of making this a title match for Hendo’s Light Heavyweight Championship. How on earth can you give someone a chance at gold after two straight losses?! That’s just crazy, and I really hope Strikeforce recognizes this and makes it a special-attraction type of bout instead. Their titles are already fragile enough as it is; they don’t need this type of negative attention.
My point is this: As much as I would have liked to see this match-up five years ago, it doesn’t hold nearly the same allure today.
I’m sure it will be (over-)hyped (like Strikeforce always does) and probably a very entertaining scrap, but it’s not the Super Fight it once would have been. But if it’s at a catchweight of (for example) 215 lbs., it shouldn’t be a problem. Hendo has gone up & down between 185 and 205 lately, but apparently walks around at 215-220 at the moment, and Fedor’s always been a small heavyweight at 230 lbs. I’m totally okay with it, and will look forward to it with the kind of excitement I have for the new Transformers movie: I know it probably won’t be the most unique experience in my life, but I can’t wait to see it anyway!
** Oscar Dronjak’s (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 1 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak’s (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 2 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak’s (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 3 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak’s (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 4 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak’s (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 5 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak’s (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 6 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak’s (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 7 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak’s (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 8 by clicking here.
** HammerFall’s new album, Infected, is out June 7th, 2011 on Nuclear Blast Records.