Daniel Cormier, a former two-division champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), is not buying the hype of prime Fedor Emelianenko.
Emelianenko, the final PRIDE Heavyweight champion, takes on Timothy Johnson at Bellator 269, taking place inside VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia on Sat., Oct. 23 via Showtime. In a new video segment, Cormier challenged the upper-level potential of Emelianenko at the height of his career.
“We’re talking a window of 2009-11. [That’s] where the UFC dealt with Fedor or at least tried to make something happen. The UFC was interested in a long time until he went to Bellator and then obviously he’s off-limits,” Cormier said on his new Debate DC show (h/t MMAFighting.com). “But all the time, Fedor kind of flew around, fighting in organizations, things can still be done. Versus Brock Lesnar, I’ll give you that. I think he beats Brock Lesnar. But outside of that, I don’t think Fedor competes very well in the UFC.
“I think that, honestly, Fedor not going to the UFC allowed for the intrigue to stay, but the reality of the situation is he would not have done well against those guys like JDS, he wasn’t beating Cain Velasquez, he would have struggled with guys like Cheick Kongo. He was not beating those guys that were at the top of the UFC at that time. I’m certain of it. I know you’re gonna say, ‘Well he beat this guy, he beat [Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira and he beat Frank Mir.’ For as great as he is, he would have been, at that time in the sport, average at best. I’m telling you. Fedor Emelianenko in the UFC between 2009-11, average at best.”
Emelianenko was on a legendary 32-1 run with one no-contest at the end of 2009. His eight-year undefeated run of dominance included wins over Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, Mark Hunt, Mark Coleman (twice), Mirko Cro Cop, Rodrigo Nogueira (twice), Kevin Randleman, Gary Goodridge and Heath Herring.
The period between 2010 and 2011 was more challenging for “The Last Emperor”. He lost three consecutive fights to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Siva and Dan Henderson — all by stoppage. He bounced back with victories over Jeff Monson, Satoshi Ishii and Pedro Rizzo, before taking a three-year absence from mixed martial arts (MMA).
MMAmania.com will deliver coverage of Bellator 269 tomorrow evening on Showtime. To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.