Fedor Emelianenko, the greatest heavyweight in MMA history, returns to the cage this weekend at Bellator 172, headlining the main event in San Jose, California against Matt Mitrione. Yesterday, ‘The Last Emperor’ went head-to-head with the MMA media…

What has changed since your glory days?

“The only thing I can say for sure is that I didn’t get any younger.”

What do you know of Matt Mitrione?

“I’ve watched tapes of his fights and I seen him fight live in Great Britain. He’s a good fighter with strong fights. He’s got fast hands and hits hard.”

Why accept a fight with Mitrione?

“Bellator offered and I agreed.”

Why fights in the US again now?

“This is where MMA started, that means something to me. I follow Bellator too, I watch their events, and I have a relationship with Scott Coker. He’s a person who keeps his word and he respects fighters. He works hard to develop his organization and make it better.”

How long have you been in the US?

“I arrived on February 9th.”

How do you feel being labelled the greatest of all time?

“I participate and I fight to glorify the glory of god and in rider of god. But my personal popularity is pretty turing for me.”

After all you have already accomplished, what’s the motivation to fight?

“I am the representative of my country, I don’t need any more motivation. A lot of young people follow me and they also want to glorify their motherland and achieve results. And I hope you will be able to see them very soon.”

Is this fight with Bellator an experiment or the start of something bigger?

“God’s will. We’ll see what god wants.”

How will your body react if the fight goes longer, the full distance?

“I feel like I’m in pretty good shape. And working with young fighters I’ve noticed I’m in good shape, still have some speed, and I like so many sportsmen I hope my career will last as long as possible. But one thing, we propose and god disposes.”

What advise do you have for these young fighters that want to emulate you?

“These people who want to become champions, their desire needs to be sported by very industrious work. and simply they have to consider themselves not higher or better than anybody else, because later it will only increase their fall. You have to input all the eery and forces we have to achieve our goal and also treat everybody with respect.”

Are you enjoying being in the United States?

“The most memorable visits I had where with my family, when Scott invited us and I brought my family. As for the food, we eat everything.”