Emelianenko had been widely considered the best heavyweight fighter in the world for the last seven years. As of October 27, 2010, Sherdog.com ranks him as the No. 4 fighter in the heavyweight division.
He holds the distinction of having held five separate major championships, including the Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight crown, a title he never lost.
Many analysts, as well as former and current fighters, consider Emelianenko to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Until tapping to Fabricio Werdum on June 26, 2010 from a triangle choke, Fedor was considered undefeated with a 32-2 MMA record. The only previous loss of his career occurred after he had been illegally injured and subsequently eliminated from a tournament.
So how does the arguably best fighter on the planet not be No. 1 on this list? That answer lies in the global marketability of Fedor Emelianenko. First, his management team, M-1 Global, has had combative discussions with UFC and its president, Dana White.
Because the two entities do not see eye to eye, Fedor has never fought for the UFC. The UFC is the top-ranked promotion in mixed martial arts worldwide and Fedor's absence from the UFC roster limits his exposure to the everyday fan.
Sure, Fedor Emelianenko is known to purists as the top fighter on the planet. But without the ability to fight for the UFC, "The Last Emperor's" media outlets are limited thus prohibiting the Fedor Emelianenko brand within the States.
His disagreements with Dana White and the UFC not only limit his marketability in America, but Fedor's choice of opponents is also diluted. The top heavyweights in MMA are all signed to UFC contracts, including Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez, the current UFC heavyweight champion.
If Fedor Emelianenko continues to hold out from signing with the UFC, he will not face top-rated opponents and subsequently will diminish his value. "To be the best, you have to beat the best," as Ric Flair so eloquently stated. Therefore, the world's best fighter and most destructive force needs to become a part of the UFC roster for his legendary status to maintain past 2011.