How close? Enough apparently that Coker would not be "shocked" if Werdum were to hand Fedor his first undisputable loss in Fedor's 10-year MMA career.
"[Werdum], he beat Fedor's brother, he beat Alistair Overeem -- whose our current champion, he just beat Giant Silva," Coker said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "This guy is no joke, People are always focusing on the Fedor equation, but believe me, Fabricio can get it done, and if he beats Fedor, I would not be shocked."
(Editor's Note: The MMA Hour, featuring guests Scott Coker and Michael Bisping, should be available later today.)
While Werdum is a top-level heavyweight and a 2009 ADCC grappling champion, he's far from a household name and does not the possess the marketability Overeem commands. For many, Werdum is a hurdle in the way of arguably the biggest Strikeforce card ever -- which could be landing on pay-per-view.
"There has been discussion of PPV and there has been discussion of the Overeem fight, but by no means is that fight done," Coker said. "And what I mean is that, it's not confirmed by Fedor's side, nor has it been confirmed by Overeem's side. Overeem has said he wants to fight him, so after this fight is over, we will sit down with M-1, should Fedor win, and have that conversion with M-1 about him fighting Alistair Overeem."
Besides the Werdum fight itself, the intangibles for Fedor's camp are the potential distractions from the contract renegotiations and his involvement in polictics in Russia. As seen from his stoic nature, Fedor's brilliance can be attributed to his composure and intelligence and Coker says he expects outside distractions will not factor into Fedor's performance inside the cage.
"When you see the look in his eyes when he steps in the cage, I'm not worried," Coker said. "Fedor knows what he's doing and he's had a great training camp from what I hear and he's going to come in there and he's going to be looking to destroy and do some damage. And that's what make this so great. Fabricio has the same attitude and he's been training super hard and it's going to be a great matchup, and an interesting fight."
Another reason to not look past the Werdum fight is simply the limited window of opportunity to watch one of the future legends of the sport fight. Fedor turns 34 in September and Coker says every time Fedor fights is a "treat."
"He probably has a couple more years. He's not in the twilight, he's also not in his 20s where you're not going to be able to see this fighter fight for the next 10 years," he said. "To have him fight for Strikeforce in a co-promotion with M-1 Global, it's going to be a treat."
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