Outside of his massive 6’5″, 265 pound frame and explosive knockout power, the single aspect that separates Brett Rogers from most of Fedor Emelianenko‘s past opponents is the fact that “The Grim” is not the least bit star struck by the dominant Russian. While so many of Fedor’s previous rivals have spoken of Emelianenko in the highest regards, Rogers will be the first to admit, he’s far from a fan.
As a matter of fact, as Rogers prepares himself for the man many consider to be the best pound for pound fighter in the business, studying tape on his future opponent is extremely low on his things to do list at this point.
“The first time I watched Fedor fight? Hmmm… you know what. I have to think about that. You know what I can’t honestly say I’ve seen one of Fedor’s fights,” revealed Rogers in an exclusive conversation with FiveOuncesOfPain.com. “I’ve seen all of his highlights and some clips, but I’ve never watched a full length fight with him. Well maybe the Arlovski fight, so I take that back. But if you’re asking me if I’m a fan, the answer to that question is no. I know who he is, and I know his background, but I was never a true Fedor fan because obviously most of his work was done out east. So I’m kind of curious to see how he’s going to do in the west.”
The biggest varying factor Emelianenko will have to deal with while competing in the west will undeniably be his having to adjust to fighting inside of a cage. In thirty-one professional contests up until this point in Fedor’s illustrious fighting career, not one has come inside of a chain link fence. Of course the former PRIDE champion has recently admitted that he has began to train inside of a cage in preparations for this bout, but one must wonder how fast Emelianenko can make the necessary adjustments to face off with a man that has spent the bulk of his career fighting in closed quarters.
“In the cage it’s a different environment,” said Rogers. “The angles in a cage are a lot different than in a boxing ring and there’s no give against that fence, so I’m definitely going to use the cage as an advantage. That’s my buddy [laughs]. A buddy that always has my back. I did some boxing in a ring early on in my career, and I had one fight in a ring at an Icon show, but outside of that all of my fighting has come in the cage. It’s a little bit of a different feel. That’s how I know that fighting is different in the ring as opposed to the cage. So hopefully it frustrates him a little bit.”
As Brett will openly admit that he is not the type of guy to pour over countless hours of his opponents tapes in search of a possible weakness, when asked as to whether he had the opportunity to see moments in bouts against opponents such as Kazuki Fujita, Mirko “Cro Cop” Flipovic and Andrei Arlovski where Emelianenko had cases of the spaghetti-leg syndrome, Rogers admitted,”Yeah, yeah I have, and I feel like the people that rocked him just didn’t stay on him enough. I mean, he’s really good at recovering. He knows to duck his head and clinch on to the body, and just kind of wait it out until he can really wake up. That’s good for him, but I’m not the type of person to give him an inch. As soon as I see him hurt, I’m on him. I’m on him. I’m gonna finish the fight. I don’t like to play around too much in the cage because anything can happen at any time, so I take them out as soon as possible.”
It’s no mystery as to where Rogers prefers to make his money; upright, busting his opponents up. And while the Team Bison trained heavyweight makes it clear that there is no area he will fear going to with Fedor, he knows where his major strengths lie.
“I definitely have a huge advantage when it comes down to exchanging punches,” said the undefeated knockout artist that has finished every one of his fights through strikes. “That’s my strong point, and that’s definitely going to be his weak point. I want to keep moving, keep him back pedaling, and just keep him off balance. That’s my main goal in this fight. I really don’t see him wanting to stand and bang with me. He’s gonna taste my power, and then he’s going to try to take me down to hopefully get me with some ground and pound or just whatever. Hopefully he’s not sleeping on the fact that I do have wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu training too. I guarantee you I’m going to be prepared for whatever.”
As previously noted, the best thing that Rogers has going for him in this bout is the fact that he’s absolutely not awestruck by Fedor in the very least. While speaking with Brett you get a sense that he may be on to something. Regardless, the type of confidence the Minnesota native brings into the bout can be viewed as nothing but a positive seeing what being fearful of “The Last Emperor” has done for rivals in the past.
“Fedor’s just another man to me,” explained Rogers. “It’s nice to say that I’m fighting the guy most people consider to be the #1 fighter in the world but on the other side of that coin he’s just a man. He’s just a man that’s in my way.
“A lot of people see Fedor as this unbeatable, mythical creature, but if I put one on his chin, Fedor is going to sleep. Right now I’m in training and I’m just visualizing knocking him out every day. I can see that he’s been rocked several times before, so I’m going in there for the kill. I can’t not picture me knocking him out. So he better do some chin-ups or whatever he needs to do to make him strong, because I’m coming for him. He’s not going to be able to handle my power standing and banging. He stands in the pocket with me, he’s gonna get knocked out. He better keep on his toes and move around.”
One fact that can’t be denied in the highly anticipated heavyweight showdown planned for Strikeforce in Fall is that Fedor has never faced a man quite like Rogers. Not to say he hasn’t faced dangerous position in the past, obviously he has, but Emelianenko has never faced a fighter with the amount of threatening variables that Rogers brings to the table, such as size, strength, one punch knockout power, killer instinct, and a big one that many are neglecting to take into account; the unknown factor. Rogers has made such short work of his prior opponents that he is undeniably one of the toughest heavyweights to prepare for in the business.
While Fedor may feel like he has nothing to show in this most recent challenge, Rogers would beg to differ, stating,”He recently said he had nothing to prove by beating me, but I feel like he does. He’s never faced anyone with the type of heart, determination and desire that it takes to succeed. I’m a totally different person than he’s ever faced before. The way I see it, I am the new generation. Even after beating Fedor I’m still going to have that hunger and desire to win. That’s just a little word of warning for everyone else after this fight. I’m hungry and determined. I’ve got a lot of things on my to do list, and those things take money. Every head is money to me.”
As confident as Rogers may seem, and rightfully so at this level of the game, he will be the first to admit that he’s got something to prove at this early point in his career. After three success filled years in the business that have led to Rogers’ rise to stardom in the fight game, many seem to lose track of the fact that at just twenty-eight years old, “The Grim” is just getting started.
“I feel like I still have a lot of things to prove,” admitted Rogers. “There’s a lot of people that say,”What if…”, this or that, but I never want to be that guy. I look at Fedor and he’s 30-1; I’m trying to be that guy. I’m determined to have a clean record and be known at the same time as one of the best heavyweights in the world. I’m not done. I’m just getting started the way I see it. It just so happens that Fedor is in my way right now.”