Fedor Emelianenko – 32 Wins. 1 Loss. 1 No Contest.
Qualification: Former Pride FC Heavyweight Champion. Has beaten UFC Champions Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski.
Key Wins: Renato Sobral, Semmy Schilt, Heath Herring, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira twice, Mark Coleman twice, Kevin Randleman, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Mirko “Cro-Cop” Filipović, Zuluzinho (Wagner da Conceição Martins), Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, Brett Rogers.
Keys Losses: Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (Note: This loss is extremely controversial. In the Rings promotion, elbows were illegal. Kohsaka opened a cut on Fedor with an elbow strike and the doctor stopped the fight. Ordinarily this would have led to a disqualification loss for Kohsaka, but the elbow strike was deemed accidental and the victory was given to Kohsaka – mostly to ensure that there was a victor that was fit to proceed to the next round of the tournament. This is Fedor’s only loss in his 34 fight career.)
Case for Fedor Emelianenko: Making the case that Fedor is the Greatest Heavyweight in the History of MMA is probably the easiest case to make among all possible contenders.
He’s beaten plenty of MMA legends, including five UFC Heavyweight Champions and five fighters from this list. With the exception of the controversial loss noted above, Fedor has never lost a fight. In the rematch with Kohsaka, Fedor absolutely destroyed TK.
Virtually undefeated after 34 fights – that is unprecedented in MMA history. He is on a record setting 28 fight win streak. And over the years, one thing has remained constant: Nobody has figured out how to beat The Last Emperor. Until somebody actually beats him, it will be impossible to claim that anyone is truly better than Fedor.
The one valid argument against Fedor is a significant one: Because of his stubborn refusal to fight in the UFC, Fedor Emelianenko is no longer competing with the best Heavyweights in the world. In Pride FC, Fedor faced off against the best in the world.
Since Pride died, all the best fighters in the world have found their way into the UFC. The best new prospects in the world are also fighting for the UFC. If you are truly a fighter, you fight to win. You are on a mission to prove that you are the best in the world.
If Fedor wants to prove he is the best in the world right now, he needs to be fighting guys like Lesnar, Velasquez, Mir, Dos Santos, and Carwin. These guys are relevant right now. They’ve proven themselves. If Fedor is not in the game to prove he is the best in the world, why is he still fighting?
If he has nothing left to prove, then he should retire and that should be the end of it. By continuing to fight in MMA while staying in the minor leagues of the sport, Fedor is tarnishing his legacy.
But ultimately, somebody has to actually beat Fedor in convincing fashion before anyone can lay claim to his throne as Best Heavyweight in the world. And even after that day comes, Fedor still has the strongest case for Best Heavyweight Ever without exception.
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