Fedor the great? So, letâ€™s talk about the hype machine that is Fighters.com Heavyweight Champion â€śLast Emperorâ€ť Fedor Emelianenko (31-1) and the better UFC heavyweights Fedor is ducking Strikeforce.
Is he the greatest MMA fighter ever? No.
Has he faced and beaten the best in the game? No.
Fedor is a great fighter, and has faced and defeated some great fighters. He is not the greatest fighter in MMA history. To be the greatest ever, you have to seek out the greats and take them out, over and over. Fedor has faced â€śCro Copâ€ť Mirko Filipovicâ€™s (23-6-2) and fourth-ranked â€śMinotauroâ€ť Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-5-1) in what most believe were their primes. Fedor has faced fighters larger than himself, such as â€śTechno Goliathâ€ť Hong Man Choi (1-1), and quicker fighters, like tenth-ranked â€śPitbullâ€ť Andrei Arlovski (14-7), and he has always found a way to defeat them.
Each one of the fighters that Fedor has faced and defeated have been defeated by other fighters just the same, and yet those victorious fighters arenâ€™t touted as the greatest ever. Fedor has not faced the super athletes of today and proven that he can keep up with the evolution of the sport. Fedor had the opportunity to face the greatest fighters in the world by signing with the UFC, and opted not to. Fedor isnâ€™t building his legacy as the greatest mixed martial artist to ever live; he is building a winning career. Much like professional boxers and their promoters, Fedor isnâ€™t seeking out the toughest opponents. He is letting his handlers feed him fighters and taking fights he has better odds at winning.
The UFC has always been criticized that they do not have a strong heavyweight class, and until now itâ€™s been true. With fighters entering the Octagon like second-ranked, UFC champ Brock Lesnar (4-1), sixth-ranked Shane Carwin (9-0), Cain Velasquez (6-0), and up-and-comer Todd Duffee (5-0), the tables are turning and now the UFC touts a heavyweight class rivaled by few.
Fedor knew what he was doing by signing with Strikeforce. He was cementing his legacy and ensuring no defeat. If Fedor was worried about being the best fighter in history, he would seek out the top challenges and test his mettle. The UFC has at least three fighters that could easily pick Emelianenko apart.
Big, bad, Brock Lesnar not only has the power to take Fedor down, but has the sheer size needed to nullify Fedorâ€™s wrestling and submission game. Although it would probably turn into another Lesnar lay-and-pray special, Brock would defeat the considerably smaller Fedor. Brock is one of those freak athletes that doesnâ€™t come around often, but when they do make a huge statement. My prediction on that fight would be Lesnar by TKO late in the second if it made it that far.
UFC top heavy weight contender Shane Carwin could possibly pose the largest knock out threat. Fedor has taken some shots before, but nothing like what Carwin can bring. Shane has a strong wrestling background, and would be able to fend off any Fedor takedown attempts. Carwinâ€™s size and strength, along with his flexibility would be able to stuff any submission attempts. Carwin, just like Lesnar, is a freakishly huge, explosive, powerful fighter that is part of the new class of heavyweight; a class that Fedor has no answer for. My call on that fight: Carwin by KO/TKO in the third.
This is probably the pick that will be the one that creates the largest stir. Cain Velasquez, in all of his underestimated power and aggressive hunger, would be too much to Fedor to fend off. Cain is young, explosive, hungry and ridiculously strong all wrapped up in an unassuming middle of the road looking package. Cain doesnâ€™t have the larger-than-life frame like Carwin or Lesnar, but I think we can all agree that he is strong and only getting stronger. Cainâ€™s wrestling would top Fedor, and probably prove too much for Fedor to handle. Cainâ€™s ability to stay on top, and impose his will would prove too much for Fedor resulting in what Iâ€™d call a three-round unanimous decision. Cain is someone to keep an eye on, if he isnâ€™t on your radar yet.
Still think Fedor is unbeatable? How about the up and coming heavyweight class like Greg Jacksonâ€™s The Ultimate Fighter alum and favorite to win this seasonâ€™s TUF, Brendan Schaub (3-0)? How about the current knock out record holder Todd Duffee? Strikeforce heavyweight champion â€śDemolition Manâ€ť Alistair Overeem (29-10) is so sure that he would defeat Fedor that he isnâ€™t even concerned with fighting him. If your argument here is experience, then why was Fedorâ€™s defeat of Brett Rogers, who less than a year ago was changing tires at his local Samâ€™s Club, anything to buzz about?
Fedor is a great fighter, fighting mediocre fighters in an attempt to maintain his hype and sell his name. Fedor isnâ€™t going to seek out great challenges and fight the best. Fedor isnâ€™t going to accept any deal the UFC offers. Fedor is going to continue to fight who he can beat, and take those victories all the way to the bank. Fedor is not the greatest fighter ever. He is a great fighter that knows his time and pay checks are limited and doesnâ€™t want to lose his money making appeal. So for now, Iâ€™ll agree to call Fedor the greatest MMA fighter that never was.