“The tournament participants are all highly skilled athletes. As for whether the winner should be considered number one in the world, it is not for me to say. That is something left to the media and to the fans… I can’t wait to compete again. Silva is a great athlete who is skilled in many areas. He has proven to be a very worthy and dangerous opponent. My training camp has been very strong. I feel proud to be representing my country in the tournament. I’m training to win the tournament.”

—Fedor Emelianenko talking to MMAFA.tv about the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix

Vadim Finkelchtein mentioned at one point that Fedor was training with Ernesto Hoost and others to change up his training a little and pick up new skills, but his first GP opponent,  Antonio Silva, doesn’t think Fedor’s style will change at all. Translated via BE:

“Man, Fedor is the type of fighter that, in the last seven or eight years has not changed much. He’s a technical fighter, explosive on the feet, has both hands very fast and strong, he has ground and pound, when he’s on top he’s very strong… But his game has not changed during these last years. If you watch all of his fights, he’ll pretty much end them the same way. Now he’s got his own camp with Ernest Hoost, but I’m sure that when the time comes, he’ll go back to his game, he won’t change. He’ll come more careful because he’s coming from a loss, he won’t expose himself much, after all its two heavyweights, the first punch that connects could decide [the fight]. He’s coming trying to stay relevant and I’m trying to stay inside the top 10. Who will win with this are the fans, because it’ll be two monsters inside the cage trying to kill themselves.”

I have to agree with Silva. Fedor’s been fighting for way too long to make anything more than subtle changes to his style. Unfortunately for Silva though, Fedor’s overall game is far better than anyone he’s ever faced before.

Image via Showtime