Matt Mitrione is set to take on Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 172, on February 18, as the Russian Emelianenko will make his much-anticipated return to the cage, in the first of his new multi-fight contract, signed earlier this month. However, Mitrione claims he will not be stifled by the aura of the former Pride champion, claiming he wants to steal his reputation.
"I'll have no problem trying to throw my fist into Fedor's face,” Mitrione said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
"That's my job, that's what I'm getting paid to do, that's why they brought us both together is because we're both exciting-ass fighters. Fedor's a huge legend and a massive name, and I'm in the process of trying to make myself a legend. So I'll have no problem throwing hands on him and doing as much damage as possible to try to steal any kind of reputation he has and put it on my own."
Matt Mitrione (11-5) is currently on a two-fight win streak, since his move from the UFC to Bellator. Mitrione went on to praise the Bellator CEO Scott Coker, claiming he trusts his plan for the company, going forward. The former UFC fighter claims he likes his new organisation better, as they place the interests of the fighters above their own.
Mitrione, wary of Emelianenko's history and possible cage rust, is still not taking the fight lightly, as the Russian has fought just once in the last three years with his last appearance in the cage being a split decision victory over Fabio Maldonado.
"Honestly he took a couple of years off, right?" Mitrione said.
"I think those are probably tuneup fights. I would expect to see the best Fedor possible when I fight him. I expect him to get back in and knock off the rust, get used to the adrenaline dump and moving around and the excitement of it. Fedor even cracked a smile on a staredown, faceoff. I think it's just getting back in the swing for him, getting used to it. I'm sure he'll be back on the grind and his murderous cabbage patch kid self again soon."
Mitrione has become one of the roster’s most beloved fighters, as he gears up to fight the Last Emperor in what will be the biggest fight of his Bellator career.
For latest MMA news, spoilers and rumours visit our Sportskeeda MMA section.Published 28 Nov 2016, 21:09 IST