This past saturday (June 26th,2010) the man known as "The Last Emperor", and the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, Fedor Emelianenko, suffered his first lost in 10 years. The loss marks the first non-contraversial loss of Fedor's career. Although coming into the fight with a record of 31-1 (with 1 NC), Emelianenko was still considered undefeated, and some believed he would never be clearly beaten. But saturday night, a brazilian jui-jitsui black belt and two-time Brazilian Jui-Jistui World Champion, Fabricio Werdum, pulled off the unthinkable. Werdum entered the fight with a record of 13-4-1 (now 14-4-1), and was a very heavy underdog, facing 8-1 odds favoring Emelianenko. Werdum won the fight solely on his BJJ skills, as he landed zero strikes in the entire one minute and 9 second long fight. But Werdum was 2 for 2 on submission attempts. Yes, he simultaneously completed 2 submissions on the best heavyweight fighter in the world. The fight was not completely dominated by Werdum though. Just 27 seconds into the fight, Werdum was dropped by a fury of punches from The Last Emperor. Fedor smelled blood, and went in for the kill, this would ultimately lead to his first defeat. In the past, Fedor has easily been able to finish the best submissionists, such as Renato "Babalu" Sobral, and Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Noguiera (on 2 separate occasions). When Fedor defeated Nogueira(2003 and 2005), both times he played right into Nogueira's strength by jumping into Nogueira's guard. Nogueira, with the best BJJ in the world (at the time), was, however, unable to submit Fedor Emelianenko. In both fights, Fedor dominated Nogueira standing up, and also dominated Nogueira from Nogueira's guard, powering out of numerous arm bar and kimura attempts. This was something that no other fighter on the planet had yet done. Fedor approached, and tried to execute, the exact same fight plan against Fabricio Werdum on saturday. The only problem was that Werdum is much stronger, and slightly more proficient in BJJ than even the legend, Minotauro Nogueira was in his prime in 2003 and 2005. Fedor dropped Werdum and went in for the kill. Werdum attempted an arm bar, but Fedor was able to pull out of it. At this point, Fedor should have backed off, and let John McCarthy stand Werdum up, but Fedor didn't. He played right into the strength of Werdum, but for the first time in his career, Fedor was unable to beat his opponent at THEIR strength. Fedor was caught in a triangle choke, and was unable to get out. Werdum held the choke, and sunk it in deeper and deeper. As Fedor's head was getting more and more purple, Werdum also secured an arm bar, thus, forcing Fedor to tap out, and leaving The Last Emperor defeated, for the first real time in his illustrious career. Had Fedor let the fight go back to the stand up, he most definitely could have won. But everything happens for a reason. Fedor was very optimistic, and stated (through a translator) "If it is God's will, I will come back and win the next fight." While Fedor was very humble in defeat, Werdum was very classy in victory, stating "Fedor is the best in the world. Tonight I beat Fedor, but Fedor is the best." Werdum also went on to state that he would enjoy a rematch against Fedor. It was believed that the winner between Werdum and Fedor would be next in line to challenge current StrikeForce Heavyweight Champion, Alistair Overeem (33-11, and 1 NC).
What does this first loss of Fedor's mean for The Last Emperor, and the entire MMA Heavyweight Rankings? As far as I am concerned, not too much changes. Sure, Fedor lost. But he is human, and could not have been expected to finish his career with just his one controversial defeat. The biggest change to follow this fight, will be that Fabricio Werdum should shoot up the rankings ladder in the heavyweight division. Another thing to consider, is that all of the currently ranked #1 fighters in each weight division have losses. Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida was another undefeated fighter who also recently suffered their first loss. Machida was also considered unbeatable, like Fedor, but Machida was knocked out by Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Machida has one loss, Anderson Silva has four, Georges St. Pierre has two, and BJ Penn has six. All of the best have losses. In my mind, and many others, Fedor is still the number one heavyweight in the world, and of all time. I would still consider Fedor in the top 3 pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Here are my Top 10 Heavyweights in the world: 1. Fedor Emelianenko 32-2, 1 NC StrikeForce 2. Alistair Overeem 33-11, 1 NC StrikeForce 3. Brock Lesnar 4-1 UFC 4. Shane Carwin 12-0 UFC 5. Frank Mir 13-5 UFC 6. Junior Dos Santos 11-1 UFC 7. Fabricio Werdum 14-4-1 StrikeForce 8. Cain Velasquez 8-0 UFC 9. Minotauro Nogueira 32-6-1, 1 NC UFC 10. Brett Rogers 10-2 StrikeForce "In The Mix": - Gabriel Gonzaga - Randy Couture With UFC 116 coming up this weekend, these rankings are subject to change very soon, considering the main event is to unify the UFC Heavyweight Championship between current champ Brock Lesnar, and the current interim champ Shane Carwin. As for now, that is how I see the the heavyweights stacking up. I am looking forward the rest of the heavyweight fights in the future. Thank you for reading!