Has Fedor just Signed With Strikeforce to Get Some Practice In A Cage?

Jake WestContributor IAugust 5, 2009

NEW YORK - JANUARY 20:  Fedor Vladimirovich Emelianenko, heavyweight mixed martial artist and current World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts heavyweight champion rings the NASDAQ opening bell at NASDAQ in Times Square on January 20, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images)

Neither Fedor, nor his manager, despite what Dana White says, are idiots, so the only reason I believe they have signed with Strikeforce is that Fedor wants to have some  fights that are in a cage, and last longer than three minutes, before he takes on the best in the UFC.

Not since the Cro Cop fight has Fedor actually had to do some serious work to beat an opponent, and I think he might well feel that he would be going into what could be a number of titantic battles, in an unfamiliar setting, undercooked.

I'm certain he's trained hard for every fight, and from all accounts Red Devil training is not for the faint hearted, but there's a world of difference between going five rounds in training, and five rounds in a fight that means something.

The contract is only for three fights in a year, which represents an increase in activity for Fedor, who had been scratching for fights before Affliction, only fought twice for them in nearly two years, and even then, as I've pointed out, for less than a round of actual fight time in total.

Fedor is a cautious fighter and someone that values familiarity. He trains the same way for every fight, in the same place, with the same guys. 

He knows that Cro Cop, who was the last fighter to take him to a decision, bombed in the UFC, perhaps partly because he seemed to be affected by the cage. It may not affect Fedor, but right now he doesn't know that and I don't think this is a guy that likes to think about anything except the guy in front of him when he enters into a fight. Even a small distraction like being in a cage instead of a ring may seem like a big deal to him.

Strikeforce have now said that he won't be fighting Overeem, their Champ, first off which is a strange and baffling idea, but if Fedor were to actually accept a fight against anyone else, especially someone like Monson who is likely to give him a fight, then it would seem to indicate that he is actually looking for fights and experience in the cage, rather than titles at this stage, even if they are fights he should win, and from which he has little to gain, and a great deal to lose.

Contrary to what Dana thought, maybe Fedor believes that he does need a few warm up bouts? Maybe he thinks this was White's plan all along, get him into a cage for the first time where he might be slightly off his game, against an opponent who poses some unique and serious problems, beat him, give the UFC title legitimacy, and get rid of him before he learns how to adapt his game to the cage?

This is all speculation, but if Fedor has a few problems adjusting, chances are he could work them out without losing in Strikesforce, which would be less likely in the UFC, and if he does win his three fights, by next year he will be 'match fit' and as importantly, familiar with the ground for the battles to come, like any good soldier would want to be.