Born into a working-class family in Rubeshnoe Lugansk, Russia, in 1976, MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko established himself as a man of intelligence when he graduated with honors from college in 1994. But alongside his penchant for academic achievement lived a spirit of competition. After serving two years in the Russian army, he let that side of himself surface, winning a national judo tournament and the European Sambo Championship in 1997. Five years later, he placed first at the World Sambo Championship. Grappling wasn’t the only facet of the combat arts at which, Fedor Emelianenko excelled. His punching ability grew hand in hand with his ground skills. One reason for his rapid development was his reliance on old-school training methods, such as standing out in the cold and hitting truck tires with a sledgehammer. Further assistance came from little brother Aleksander Emelianenko—who stands 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 275 pounds.
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