Fabio Maldonado never backed down from a challenge, and he’s facing the biggest of his career on June 17: a fight with Fedor Emelianenko in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“My head is not in Russia yet,” Maldonado told MMA Fighting, explaining that he will fight in Brazil five weeks before Fight Nights 50. “I had the option to cancel this fight since it wasn’t signed yet, but I gave my word that I would fight so I wouldn’t pull out. I can’t let everybody down. Of course, I wanted to cancel everything, but I can’t let them down.”
The Brazilian brawler, who racked up a 5-6 record under the UFC banner between 2010 and 2015, is scheduled to headline 1º Round Combat in Natal, Brazil, on May 6, in a five-round, 230-pound catchweight clash with Felipe Dantas (9-0).
“He’s a tough guy,” said the Brazilian. “He’s not as experienced as Fedor, of course, but he’s a tough and undefeated guy. He’s having his chance. I believe I’m the favorite, but a fight is a fight. I can’t let this become a problem.”
Dantas will be Maldonado’s first MMA fight since leaving the UFC, but not his first bout. Earlier this year, Maldonado returned to the boxing ring to score a pair of quick first-round knockouts in Brazil.
“It was good to activate my boxing,” he said. “Sometimes we lack the things we know the most because we’re trying to do everything at the same time. I was able to have a good performance in boxing.”
With two MMA fights scheduled outside of the light heavyweight division, Maldonado explains that he might move up to heavyweight for good now.
“I believe I can come back to light heavyweight one day, but I need time to prepare myself,” said Maldonado, who lost to Quinton Jackson and ….View full article
Source:: mma fighting