Saturday, December 4, 2021

Petr Yan Reveals Why Compatriot Fedor Emelianenko Wasn’t His Idol

To Petr Yan, “The Last Emperor” was a legend, just not one that he admired as a young fighter. 

It’s no secret that Fedor Emelianenko holds a special place in the hearts of fans around the globe. So when one thinks of a young mixed martial artist from Russia, it seems a no-brainer that they would view “The Last Emperor” in high regard. Yet, that’s not exactly the case for former UFC champion, Petr Yan. In fact, Yan is unsure how to feel after the heavyweight legend’s most recent knockout victory

“You know, Fedor is a legend of our sport. He is one of the best heavyweights, no doubt. (The fact that) he’s still competing, I have mixed feelings because it’s good that he’s promoting the sport, he’s doing good things for his team, he’s pushing his team. But also, our sport is very tough and dangerous, and you know, it’s dangerous to compete at this level at such an age,” Yan divulged on The MMA Hour

Petr Yan
Petr Yan, Credit: Zuffa LLC

Yan, 28, wasn’t much into MMA during Emelianenko’s legendary PRIDE run. But from an early age, a sport that attracted “No Mercy” was the sweet science. He would sneak off to train with his brothers and eventually earn the title of Master of Sport in Boxing. So while many future MMA stars grew up enthralled by Emelianenko, Yan names athletes such as Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr. and Gennady Golovkin as his inspiration. 

“For me personally, he wasn’t my idol because at first I was into boxing. So I was looking up to some boxing athletes and when I switched to MMA, Fedor wasn’t already competing actively. So it’s not like I was looking up to him.”

Of course, Yan would move on to MMA and go far in the sport. He won the vacant UFC bantamweight title but lost it in his first defense after hitting Aljamain Sterling with an illegal knee. Yan was expected to rematch Sterling this weekend, but a lingering neck injury kept the champion from the bout. Instead, Yan will look to secure interim gold when he meets Cory Sandhagen in the co-main event of UFC 267

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