Many can lay claim to being the greatest of all time, but in Jose Aldo’s eyes, there has never been a more impressive or dominant fighter in MMA history than former Pride heavyweight champ Fedor Emelianenko.
During an appearance on Brazil TV station Esporte Interativo, the reigning UFC featherweight champ was asked to list his top five greatest fighters of all time, and surprisingly, he chose “The Last Emperor” as the all-time MMA king:
“Man, I think we all have a list. The number one for me is Fedor Emelianenko, I’m a big fan of him, the guy is so amazing.”
There’s certainly no arguing the greatness posed by Emelianenko, who went nearly a decade without losing a fight. Those who disagree will predictably point to the fact that he never fought in the UFC.
It’s easy to forget that Emelianenko’s reign of dominance came at a time when Pride Fighting Championships had the best stable of heavyweights in the world.
Still, it’s rather surprising Aldo didn’t side with the easy pick in former UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva. The top spot is always debatable, but surely, Silva ranks at No. 2 on the list—right?
“In second I put Royce [Gracie].”
“Then Chuck Liddell…”
“Anderson Silva, and then there’s me.”
Aldo is clearly stating his personal opinion, but it’s still interesting Silva would land at No. 4 considering everything he’s accomplished. He has broken nearly every UFC record, and his reign of dominance lasted nearly seven years in the face of consistently challenging opposition.
From a statistical perspective, it’s nearly impossible to make a case against Silva, but rules go out the window when abstract notions like historical significance come into play. This could explain why Aldo opted to place Gracie and Liddell so high on the list.
While Silva barely makes the list, UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre has been left out entirely.
Did Aldo get it right?
Jordy McElroy is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMAwriter for Rocktagon Worldwide.