Daniel Cormier calls Fedor Emelianenko heavyweight GOAT following backlash on his recent comments

daniel cormier
Credit: Bellator/Lucas Noonan

Former UFC two-division king Daniel Cormier received serious backlash following negative comments he made last week about MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. Now, “DC” wants to make it clear he still does consider the Russian to be the heavyweight GOAT.

Last week, the retired UFC star took part in his podcast series Debate DC and verbally jousted with a fan about how Emelianenko would have faired if he had signed with the UFC following the demise of PRIDE FC. During the discussion, the ESPN analyst said he thought “The Last Emperor” would have been “average at best” if he competed in the Octagon at the tail end of the last decade.

Those comments seemed to bother many of Emelianenko’s supporters in the MMA community. Especially after his impressive first-round knockout win over second-ranked Bellator heavyweight Tim Johnson on Saturday at Bellator 269. With the backlash in full gear, Cormier decided to take to his personal YouTube page [h/t MMAFighting] to try and clear the air on his comments. As well as show some respect to the man he admires and considers the best heavyweight fighter of all time.

Daniel Cormier wants to unruffle some feathers over his Fedor Emerlianenko comments

“Guys, let’s just put this out there. I absolutely love Fedor. Let’s not make it anything that it isn’t. Earlier in the week, I had this conversation on my show Debate DC. … We had a conversation about whether or not Fedor could rule the UFC in the way that he did in PRIDE (and) all of the other organizations that he fought in prior. I said no, but I was very specific in the timeframe. I didn’t say that 2005, 2004, 2006 Fedor couldn’t, [or] 2007, 2008. I didn’t say that. I said in a window of 2009 to 2012, I didn’t think that he would be as good as he had shown to be prior,” Cormier said.

“I don’t understand how this ruffled so many people’s feathers. Because it was proven, in that timeframe, that he wasn’t as effective. It’s that simple. I love Fedor. I watch today if he fights, and I root for him every single time. the guy is a wonder of the world. He’s a guy that doesn’t come around very often.”

Just as it was last week, Cormier’s point is fair. From 2009 to 2012, Emelianenko fought eight times and won five of those bouts. His wins came against Andre Arlovski — at a peak period for the Belarusian — and against inexperienced and well-aged fighters in Brett Rogers, Satoshi Ishii, Jeff Monson, and Pedro Rizzo. On the other hand, his three losses were all stoppage defeats. Two of them against talents that would go on to compete in the UFC heavyweight division, and middleweight veteran Dan Henderson.

Cormier calls Fedor an inspiration

daniel cormier, fedor emelianenko, bellator 269
Credit: Bellator/Lucas Noonan

Despite his belief that Emelianenko peaked more than a decade ago, he firmly feels that at his best, the Stary Oskol-native was the best the weight class has ever seen. And that what he is doing now, by competing in his mid-40s, and beating strong talent, is proof of his legendary status and an inspiration to fans and fighters.

“With all that being said, I still believe Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest heavyweight of all time. I love Stipe [Miocic]. Stipe is the best UFC heavyweight of all time, but the wins Fedor had in PRIDE, over the likes of [Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira and all those guys, Arlovski, hats off to you, bud. I don’t mind that. I like Fedor,” he said. “The fact that he’s still fighting at 45 and knocking dudes out like he did Tim Johnson, hats off to the GOAT. I have no issues with the man. I’m talking about a specific window in which I don’t believe that he would be as effective as he was in the years earlier.

“Now, what he’s got going on now, that’s inspiring. To be 45-years-old and knocking out Johnson the way that he did. That is inspiring and that’s why Fedor Emelianenko is the man…. I look up to him,” Cormier added. “I really tried to learn from his approach and how he went at people. Being a smaller guy and beating people the way that he did. So this is just to clear the air. I don’t hate Fedor. I think he’s the best. I just think that in a small window when it was really coming to pass, he wouldn’t have been the best. But hats off to the man. Congratulations on the victory and I’m excited to see him fight again.”

Do you agree with Cormier that Emelianenko is the heavyweight GOAT, or did Stipe Miocic or Cain Velasquez surpass him?

Join the discussion on this topic...