Photo by Tracy Lee via Combat Lifestyle.
I've long held that the fight game is far too dicey for promoters to waste time building up to big matches. There are too many variables, too many ways for things to go wrong for promoters to wait until circumstances are perfect before booking the big fight. In MMA, fighters are too prone to injury, upset losses, sudden contract disputes and instant aging for promoters to do anything other than book the biggest fight they can as soon as they can.
Mike Chiappetta makes the case:
Though Emelianenko has spent his entire career as a heavyweight, he's not drastically bigger than Henderson. Emelianenko is actually an inch shorter than the American, and he usually weighs in around 230 pounds, about 25 pounds heavier than Hendo. Roughly speaking, Emelianenko is about the same size as Henderson's opponent last night, Cavalcante, who walks around at about 225 pounds.
The historical significance of a Henderson-Emelianenko bout is an easy sell for Strikeforce. These are two legends, one a multi-time, multi-division champion, the other the greatest heavyweight of all time. Such a matchup should draw big money to the box office and big interest from the fans, as the pair are probably the most recognizable names on the Strikeforce roster. Put the two together and Strikeforce has its first legit, mainstream superfight.
Emelianenko vs. Henderson is a fight we know that at least Henderson would take, and after losing in the Heavyweight Grand Prix, Emelianenko is in a bit of limbo right now as well. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker admitted after that loss that Emelianenko could be re-inserted into the field as an alternate if need be, but instead of leaving him waiting, why not match him up against the organization's other biggest name?
This is brilliant match-making on Chiappetta's part. I hope Scott Coker and M-1 Global are paying attention.
The title is pretty irrelevant to the plan but it's not inconceivable that Fedor could cut to 205lbs and challenge for Henderson's belt. The conditioning involved wouldn't do him any harm.
Fedor vs Henderson is by far the biggest potential match on the horizon for Strikeforce, Fedor or Henderson. Let's do it.