Mixed Martial Artist Fedor Emelianenko
When it comes to heavyweights in mixed martial arts, none comes close to the brilliance and sustained excellence of Fedor Emelianenko.
Fedor Vladimirovich Emelianenko was born on September 28, 1976, in Rubizhne, Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union, and raised in Belgorod, Russia. He began learning to fight as a young boy, training in different martial art styles. Following high school he attended a professional trade school, from where he graduated with honors in 1994. He then entered the Russian Army, where he served as a military firefighter.
In 1997, not long after his release from the Army, Fedor Emelianenko was officially certified as a Master of Sports in self-defense, which earned him a spot on the Russian national team. He won his first international tournament in Judo a couple of months later, and earned a bronze medal in the Russian Judo Championship the following year.
Based on the simple fact that he was in need of money to provide for his wife and baby daughter, Fedor Emelianenko decided to launch his career as a professional fighter. In 2000, he turned pro and began competing in Combat Sambo and mixed martial arts events.