Fedor Emelianenko, the once seemingly invincible pound-for-pound kingpin of MMA, is coming off two crushing losses heading into his bout against Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Dan Henderson at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Hendo on Saturday night at Sears Center in Chicago.
Henderson knows the dangers the Russian presents.
"I watched both of Fedor's last fights," Henderson said on a conference call. "I felt like against [Fabricio] Werdum he got a little cocky with his submission defense, thinking he wouldn't get submitted and everybody can get caught I guess. With [Antonio] Silva, I thought he was a little bit out of shape and his size definitely got to him. Silva hung out on top of him and didn't let him move that whole second round. I think, no matter if he's in shape or out of shape, he's still really dangerous.
"I think anybody that has their back to the wall and coming off two losses like that is definitely more dangerous. I think he'll still be trying to hit me with the same punches as if he won his last two fights."
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker believes people shouldn't underestimate Emelianenko.
"I don't think Fedor's legacy has been tarnished at all," Coker said of the former Pride heavyweight champion. "Losses are going to happen. He fought some really good guys. Fabricio is an amazing jiu-jitsu master and Bigfoot Silva is a giant. He fought guys that are really good and you can't take that away from the other guys or Fedor. He'll come out here hungry and he'll be looking for Dan and Dan will be looking for Fedor. I think it will be an amazing fight."
Both fighters possess one-punch knockout power in their right hands.
"We'll find out who has the best right hand (on Saturday night)," Henderson said.
Emelianenko remains steadfast that he has plenty of fight left in him.
"The loss hasn't affected my confidence at all," the Russian said. "I will go down the path God has set for my life and be confident in that."
The Showtime telecast begins at 10 p.m. PDT.
Also on the card, Marloes Coenen (19-4) defends her Strikeforce women's welterweight title against Miesha Tate (11-2); middleweight contenders Tim Kennedy (13-3) and Robbie Lawler (18-7) square off; top welterweights Paul Daley (27-10-2) and Tyron Woodley (8-0) hook up; and middleweight prospect Tarec Saffiedine (10-3) faces veteran brawler Scott Smith (17-8).