Fedor Compares Strikeforce Grand Prix to Pride: “It’s Just as Good, If Not Better”


Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor Emelianenko in Pride

It started on April 25, 2004.

The Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix. At the time, it was widely considered one of the best gatherings of heavyweight talent in the MMA world, if not the greatest. The eventual winner was former No. 1 heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, who will also be a participant in the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix kicking off Feb. 12 in New Jersey.

Emelianenko is the only participant in the upcoming Strikeforce tournament who was also a part of the Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix over six years ago.

Despite the legendary field of 16 heavyweights in that tournament, Emelianenko believes Strikeforce may have surpassed it with the crop of eight fighters they have kicking off their own Heavyweight Grand Prix in 2011.

“I believe that this tournament has assembled enough quality fighters and some of the strongest and most interesting heavyweight fighters in the world. So I think that in no way is this tournament any less than the ones I competed for with Pride,” said Emelianenko.

“I believe it’s just as good, if not better.”

Strong words from the fighter who would gain his fame and prestige from his time in the once great Japanese organization, but he feels like the talent amassed by Strikeforce rivals or surpasses that of the Pride days.

There is no denying the tournament is filled with Top 10 fighters or Top 10 level talent from top to bottom. Beyond Emelianenko, the man who defeated him last year, Fabricio Werdum, as well as Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, make up three-fourths of one side of the bracket.

On the other side, perennial Top 10 fighter Josh Barnett sits in the tournament as well as several fighters that have been ranked among the best in the last few years, including former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski.

The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix will kick off in February with the first round match-ups between Emelianenko and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva as well as Andrei Arlovski against Sergei Kharitonov.

While his Pride days are long behind him, the mental preparation and toughness that Fedor endured to get through the past Grand Prix tournament can’t be ignored, but while he feels experience is always important, it’s not going to get him through to the finals.

“I don’t think that the years I spent in Pride can give me any type of advantage or dictate how I will perform in this tournament,” said Emelianenko. “Certainly experience in this tournament is something that is valuable. Nevertheless, I have to train very hard for this fight and we’ll see what happens.”

The tournament’s opening round fights will take place on Feb. 12 and then another event sometime in early April. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said that the semifinal rounds will likely then take place in June or July, with the finals happening after that, although no timelines have been set.


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
Follow Damon on Twitter or e-mail Damon a question or comment.


Follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

  • 13 days ago
  • 20 views

Hans Nijman, best known in MMA circles for being one of the participants in the 2000 Pride World Grand Prix tournament, was shot to death on Wednesday in front of a gym he partially owned in Holland read news >>

  • 22 days ago
  • 7 views

Motivated by Pat Wyman and Tim B., Paul Gift looks back at 2009 and gives a statistical breakdown of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers round 1. Nov. 7, 2009 was a big day for Strikeforce. The promotion m read news >>

  • 19 days ago
  • 312 views

Since the only Russian I speak is aped from that scene in Rambo when Col. Podovsky was barking orders at Sgt. Yushin, I'm not entirely sure what all those fancy letters mean. I think they are selling read news >>

  • 19 days ago
  • 40 views

In part 2 of BloodyElbow’s interview with Vadim Finkelchtein, the M-1 Global head honcho discusses heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko, the negotiation issues between the UFC and M-1, and the death o read news >>

  • 18 days ago
  • 51 views

This is a pretty inspiring ad with Fedor Emelianenko, and we dare you not to get emotional. read news >>

  • 17 days ago
  • 16 views

Re-live all of the action and shocking finish from Fabricio Werdum's fight with Fedor Emelianenko. The bout was the main event at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum from June of 2010 in San Jose, Californ read news >>

  • 18 days ago
  • 7 views

Jewels champion Seo Hee Ham wins her sixth in a row, Russian prospects crank out the KOs, plus UFC vets Dennis Hallman and Jonathan Brookins return to action, with mixed results. Congratulations to S read news >>

  • 9 days ago
  • 0 views

SAN DIEGO - "KIng Mo" Lawal's smile is back. The former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion seemed to have developed a permanent scowl over the past year or so. From decisions that didn't go his w read news >>

  • 4 days ago
  • 0 views

At UFC 180, the heavyweight division crowned a new interim champion, Fabricio Werdum. Knocked down and unable to threaten Mark Hunt on the ground during the opening round, Werdum didn't look great ea read news >>

Jump to: