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Alistair Overeem: Fedor Emelianenko 'took easy route,' can't be considered greatest of all time

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Esther Lin

For all intents and purposes, Fedor Emelianenko has often been dubbed the greatest mixed martial arts (MMA) Heavyweight of all time (GOAT). Alistair Overeem, however, doesn’t feel the Russian deserves that title because he always seemingly took the path of least resistance, refusing to sign with Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC), the greatest combat sports proving grounds on the planet.

And even though "Last Emperor" may have deserved that title at one point in time, the last few years of his career hurt his chances of keeping the coveted title best-ever, according to "Demolition Man."

"The Reem" broke it down to Sirius XM’s Luke Thomas:

"I like the wording, but I don’t think it’s up to me to give it to myself. I will tell you this, though, I don’t think Werdum deserves that title. I just don’t think he has what it takes. And I don’t think Fedor deserves that title, either, because Fedor never signed with UFC. He kind of always took the easy route, which he is doing now. Don’t get me wrong, I know Fedor personally and I like him as a person -- he is very humble and very nice and he had an excellent run in Rings in Japan, I fought there in '99. He had an excellent run there and an excellent run in PRIDE. But after PRIDE, he never really tested himself. There was the Affliction thing, but if he really wanted to go down as the best Heavyweight ever, then he should have signed with UFC and taken the hard route. UFC is where there is the hardest division, that’s just how it is. Every fighter is hard, there is no easy fights, no easy opponents. With Fedor’s last fight, the last Fedor win, changed it to a draw, but he actually lost that fight. First round was 10-7, then a 10-9, then a 9-9 in my opinion and they could’ve easily stopped that fight. Maldonado did a great job in that fight and got robbed. You know, or he should've just quit after his success or come to UFC. But, he is not doing that. I think your last fight when you are going to finish your career is very important. If you are going to keep going, your either going to lose or not perform and give away your grand title as greatest heavyweight of all time. And I think he did have that, 10 years undefeated. But, then came the losses in Strikeforce, retirement, came out of retirement, so now I don’t think he qualifies for that title."

Indeed, Emelianenko’s last fight against Maldonado was a disaster to say the least (see why here and here).

And while Overeem won’t ever brand himself the greatest big man of all time, preferring to let the public opinion decide who it is, should he defeat Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC 203 on Sept. 10, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio, to claim the 265-pound title to add to his already full mantle of world championships, he’ll make a solid case for himself.

Of course, defeating Miocic and defending the title impressively a few times will help the cause even more.

For more on the upcoming UFC 203 pay-per-view (PPV) event click here.