Just last year, it seemed as if revered mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter and former heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko would finally make his UFC debut.
However, after a lengthy negotiating process -- these things have become customary when "The Last Emperor" and ZUFFA talk money -- the Sambo master bolted for a familiar land, one that was headed by ex-PRIDE FC boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara.
Fedor signed with upstart Japanese promotion Rizin Fighting Federation (RFF) and collapsed his first opponent in over three years via strikes in just over three minutes back on New Year's Eve.
Despite being one of the most successful MMA combatants of his time, there will continue to be debates as to how he would have fared had he tried his luck inside the Octagon.
Lucky for him, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir believes he has the answer.
From Mir's conversation with MMA Junkie:
"I was told constantly if these three guys came over to the UFC, they're going to clean house. It's going to be the PRIDE show in the UFC. The three big names from the PRIDE heavyweights that I had to hear about in the early 2000s were obviously Fedor (and) Nogueira. Everyone came over but Fedor. Fedor came over to an American show, but just not the UFC. He didn't fare any better. He lost to ‘Bigfoot' Silva, who smashed him. I have a win over ‘Bigfoot.' I think that kind of settles that argument of what he would have done in the heavyweight division here in the UFC."
Mir, a profound Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, rose to prominence during the early part of the 21st century, right around the same time Fedor was beginning to tighten his stranglehold on the heavyweight division around the world. The Las Vegas native found paydirt in UFC and attained gold through the use of his slick submission background, but his run at the top was cut short because of a motorcycle accident.
Fedor, on the other hand, put together an illustrious win streak over an eight-year span that included romps over Andrei Arlovski, Antonio Nogueira and Mark Coleman. Then, when it appeared the Russian brute may finally sign with Dana White and UFC, the former's manager balked at the terms of the contract.
Fedor went on to finish several more foes in spectacular fashion, before trending downhill between 2010-11, when he was finished in three straight outings at the hands of Fabricio Werdum, Silva, and Dan Henderson before making a minor comeback attempt in Japan and Russia later on.
The rest is history.
So, as the debate rages on, I ask the question. Will Fedor go down as the greatest MMA fighter in your eyes?
Better yet, does Mir eventually get a crack at him?