June 26th is a day that will go down in MMA history as the day one of the sports biggest icons was finally defeated. It took Fabricio Werdum just 69 seconds to catch Fedor Emilianenko in a picture perfect triangle hold. Many had written off Vai Cavalo as the next on Fedor's list of casualties, seemingly another lamb to the Russian slaughter. But it was not to be.
After almost being knocked out in the first exchange, Werdum fell on his back at the force of The Last Emperor's initial onslaught, but Emilianenko made a fatal mistake as he tried to finish him, landing in the Brazilian's guard, easily the place who never want to be with a Jiu Jitsu experct such as Werdum. As Fedor tried to ground and pound Fabricio to end the fight, he got caught in a picture perfect armbar/triangle, ending the Last Emperor's 10 year reign as the World's number 1 heavyweight.
Speaking at the post fight press conference, Emilianenko seemed almost releived after his first "real" loss, telling reporters "The one who doesn't fall doesn't stand up. It happens that I was made kind of an idol. Everybody loses. That happens. I'm a normal human being, as are all of us. If it is God's will, the next fight I'll win" with a dry but stangely satified smile on his face. A man who never boasted of his acheivements, or ever claimed to be the best, seemed to appear almost happy to have such a burden removed from his shoulders.
He offered no excuses, accepting defeat freely, telling press "At the very moment when I had to escape, I stopped, I didn't do that, and that moment was used by Fabricio to finish his lock." Perhaps after all these years of fighting other ground wizards such as Big Nog has finally taken its toll on the Russian's body.
When asked what was next for him, Emilienenko stated that he would quite happily face Werdum again in a rematch, At the press conference he said: "I feel myself very, very good. I will have one more fight here. I will be continuing. Certainly I would like to have a rematch with Fabricio, if he agrees, I would love to do that."
Saying about his loss that "If God decided it that way, that means that was the best way for this very time. I thank God for everything." With Fedor currently in unfamiliar territory, coming off his only undisputeable loss, it remains to be seen how he will deal with this loss. Some fighters come back from a loss stronger and hungrier, a more complete fighter, like GSP for example, and then theres other fighters who come back from a loss and struggle to deal with it, ammassing several losses, one after the other, like Andrei Arlovski, who was on a 5 fight win streak, before loosing to Fedor, Brett Rogers and most recently Big Foot Silva.
Whether it's a new and improved Last Emperor who comes back, or maybe a battle weary former Champ who could struggle against the top competition, all eyes will be on Fedor's next bout, regardless of who Scott Coker and M1 decide that should be.
Thanks to MMAJUNKIE.com for the quotes.