Former PRIDE FC champion, Fedor Emelianenko (36-5, 1 NC), is widely considered one of the finest heavyweights to ever compete in mixed martial arts (MMA), based primarily on his accomplishments in the Japanese-based fight promotion.
But what have you done for ‘Reem lately?
Another PRIDE FC export, Alistair Overeem (42-15, 1 NC), is not going to anoint the struggling Emelianenko as the greatest of all time because “The Last Emperor” declined to fight him during a can-crushing run post-2005.
“I think Fedor had a great run in 2002-2005 and after that, people talk about 10 years undefeated and blah, blah, blah, but after 2005, who did he fight? He fought cans. The other thing is that he never tested himself in the UFC. That’s something that bothers me. He should have done that. He should have went to the UFC and went to that mix. There’s always gonna be that little thing over his career. He’s not the greatest heavyweight because he declined to fight me on two occasions while I was the Strikeforce heavyweight champion. You want to fight for the belt, right? I wanted to fight him, he’s a name. And secondly, because he didn’t go to the UFC.”
Overeem, like Emelianenko, bounced around after the fall of PRIDE FC but unlike his former rival, ended up in UFC to challenge the best ZUFFA had to offer, including this weekend’s rubber match against Fabricio Werdum.
More on that bout here.
Despite some high-profile wins over Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos, among others, the towering Dutchman was unable to capture UFC gold and has been knocked out four times inside the Octagon.
So, where do you rank Emelianenko — and Overeem — among the all-time greats?