Damon Martin: Why Fedor is not the GOAT
B/R Featured Columnist Damon Martin makes the argument that Anderson Silva, not Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest fighter of all time. Here is his argument against Fedor:
He put together an incredible undefeated run between 2001 and 2008, winning a total of 28 fights in a row. Emelianenko was the conquering ruler of the heavyweights in Pride when they proudly boasted the strongest division the sport has ever seen.
What kills Emelianenko in the greatest-of-all–time-discussion is the fact that his streak is littered with no names and fights that were obvious set-ups for him to destroy the opposition. At the time when Pride was at its apex, fights were routinely matched up as entertainment more than actually progressing a fighter’s career by facing the best of the best in their division.
Emelianenko’s streak is still ultra impressive, but it’s hard to ignore that some of those wins came over names like Yuji Nagata (he was 0-1 when he faced Emelianenko) or Zuluzinho (despite his 7-0 record at the time he had no business being in the same cage). He did topple the best heavyweights in Pride beating fighters like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko CroCop, but finished neither of them within the distance.
Some wins on his record also have to be put into context because it’s no secret that when Emelianenko squared off with names like Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman, their best years were already behind them. Add in fights against Matt Lindland (who is middleweight) and Hong Man Choi (one fight in MMA at the time), and Emelianenko’s invincible streak takes a few dings along the way.
It also can’t be ignored that Emelianenko started fighting after Silva did (his first bout was in 2000), he retired at 36 years of age (Silva is currently 38), and he went 3-3 in his final six bouts. In those three losses, Emelianenko was finished each time including one defeat to Dan Henderson, who was a light heavyweight moving up to heavyweight for the bout.