Fedor Emelianenko’s name doesn’t get mentioned quite as much as it used to, when people name the best heavyweight of all time. But, recently Fabricio Werdum explained why he still believes “The Last Emperor” is the best fighter the heavyweight division’s seen.
Fedor’s lengthy run as the consensus, greatest heavyweight
For sometime, there was next to no argument when people talked about who the best heavyweight of all time was – it was Fedor Emelianenko. Due to an undefeated streak that lasted almost ten years, not only was Emelianenko typically mentioned as the greatest heavyweight ever, he was often cited as the best fighter the game has ever known, period.
Emelianenko’s status in 2019
After Fedor’s awe-inspiring, undefeated run ended via a Werdum triangle-choke in 2010, the Russian star proceeded to lose two more, consecutive bouts. As a result, less folks started to cite him as the G.O.A.T, and that continued after he was taken out in 2017 by Matt Mitrione.
Well, fast forward to today, and some view Daniel Cormier as the best HW to date. After all, Cormier has never lost competing at heavyweight, and he quickly took out Stipe Miocic last summer, who held the UFC’s heavyweight title for the longest (three defenses).
But, when Werdum was recently asked to weigh-in on whether Cormier is the best heavyweight of all time, the former champ said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“In my opinion, for sure (Cormier) is a very good fighter – two belts, different divisions – but the best fighter, in my opinion, is Fedor,” Werdum said. “He deserves (it). Ten years, he never lost before, and I believe Fedor continues to be the best heavyweight in the world.”
“Not because I finished him,” Werdum said. “Before, I looked at him as my idol, but when I fought him, I wanted to finish him. That’s it.”
It’s an interesting debate, and often one’s view can depend on whether they’re talking about abilities or legacy. Would Cormier in his prime (some would argue he’s still in it) beat Fedor during his best years? When you consider his wrestling, power, and top game, there’s a good chance he would have. The game has changed a lot since Fedor was ruling PRIDE.
But, when you consider Fedor went undefeated for nearly ten years, and defeated fellow legends like Mark Coleman, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko “Cro Cop” during that time, it’s hard to dismiss his case as the greatest HW. During his prime, Fedor was a threat standing and off his back, and he also had ferocious ground-and-pound. Not many fighters in the sport could say that back then.