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The mystique surrounding the world's top pound-for-pound fighter quickly faded when Fedor Emelianenko suffered three straight setbacks in Strikeforce between June 2010 and July 2011.
But prior to his first legitimate loss, which came against Fabricio Werdum, Emelianenko essentially went unbeaten for more than nine years, going 32-1 with one no-contest.
UFC president Dana White had long yearned to sign Emelianenko during his prolific run. In January, White admitted to Bleacher Report that a bout between "The Last Emperor" and Brock Lesnar nearly came to fruition following the death of Emelianenko's father.
Emelianenko's first loss was a controversial TKO due to a cut from an elbow from Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, a setback he later avenged with ease.
A master in both sambo and judo, Emelianenko floored and submitted opponents at will in his illustrious career. In 40 scraps, Emelianenko pulled off 16 submissions, including six armbars.
An equally lethal striker, The Last Emperor not only won 11 fights via knockout, he also roughed up eight foes in entertaining decision wins.
Defensively, Emelianenko was a nightmare for opponents because he was so difficult to knock out, submit or control.
From an offensive prospective, Emelianenko thrived off unpredictability. No one ever knew how they'd lose to him, but until Werdum, not many expected to best Emelianenko.
Truth be told, though, fans and experts are forever left with the question: How would UFC champs like Lesnar, Randy Couture, Junior dos Santos or Cain Velasquez have fared against Emelianenko?