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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

Do you still consider Fedor to be the most clutch fighter in MMA?

By Zach Arnold | June 30, 2010

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When it comes to talk radio topics like this, this is like taking candy from a baby and the Sherdog crew did that on Monday.

There’s several debates rolled into one passage here. The first part is where you position Fedor in MMA rankings now that he lost and lost to someone who barely made the Top 10 of most Heavyweight rankings lists. The second part is where you position Fedor historically on the list of greatest MMA fighters of all time. (Is he ahead of Georges St. Pierre?) The third part and the most intriguing to me is if you still view Fedor as a fighter that you would put your mortgage payment on to win a fight or do you feel he is slipping to the point that it’s no longer an automatic pick to take him against a multi-dimensional Heavyweight fighter or even a Heavyweight fighter who is talented in one particular skill set.

Regarding the latter point, Fedor has had a history of attacking the strength of his opponent and trying to mentally break his rivals down. (Think: mentally breaking Cro Cop down striking or pounding on Nogueira in his open guard.) Really, in essence, that’s what Fedor did here with Werdum — he knocked the guy down and went right into his guard and started pounding away to try to pass but unlike Nogueira, Werdum went for the air-tight lock and got it.

So, there’s your setup for what will no doubt be an endless debate about all of these relevant questions.

TJ DE SANTIS: “I know the rankings are soon going to reflect Fedor Emelianenko for the first time in seven years not being the best Heavyweight in the world. Rankings are supposed to reflect, you know, like we say t’s a snapshot in time. Fedor loses so he moves out of that spot. However, I still can’t think of a fight for Fedor Emelianenko where I pick another guy. I think if Fedor fights Werdum tomorrow, in a week, six months, if he fights anybody else, Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin, Frank Mir, Cheick Kongo, Cain Velasquez, I’m still picking Fedor Emelianenko and I’m still pretty confident in that pick.”

LUTFI SARIAHMED: “That’s fine and I think you’re probably certainly not the only one to go on something like that in terms of who would you pick, Fedor over who, in terms of those match-ups. But like you said, the rankings are based on this snapshot. The rankings are based on what’s just happened and what’s going to happen is I mean Fedor lost and you have Brock vs. Shane upcoming this Saturday for probably the #1 Heavyweight in the world right now.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Sure. And because Fedor doesn’t have that #1 next to his name on the list of ten great fighters above 205 pounds doesn’t mean he’s not the best Heavyweight in the world. I still think he’s the best Heavyweight in the world. I think he’s the best Heavyweight in the history of Mixed Martial Arts. Now, what does this mean for Fedor Emelianenko? What does this mean for M-1? These are going to be topics ran over throughout every MMA radio show out there, it’s going to be thought about in nearly every blog, it’s going to be you know talked about and you know basically guessed upon on every MMA forum in the world. I don’t know. I don’t know what is next for Fedor Emelianenko. However, Lutfi, not that it was unexpected, I was slightly bothered by just the lack of emotion from The Last Emperor. Fedor… didn’t look upset. He didn’t even really look dejected. He lost. He got his face wiped because he was bleeding and said well if you don’t stand up then you can never fall.”

LUTFI SARIAHMED: “By the way, I said this on the Twitter account right afterwards, I call BS on that. The first thing that he comes up with in a post-fight interview after his first loss in seven years was that quote?”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Well, I mean, you’re saying the translator changed it?”

LUTFI SARIAHMED: “Who knows Russian? That’s all I’m asking. I want someone to confirm that for me.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Yeah, but to be fair… I think maybe that’s what he planned on saying for seven years or at least for four years after he went undefeated for as long as he did and when, hey, when I lose it’s going to be a big deal so I better have something to say. That’s a generic way to say something and it fits the Fedor sort of brand. Mysterious. Sort of poetic. And you know, I mean, it was fitting. It was perfect for what he would say. I’m not sure, Lutfi, I mean, again, I don’t speak Russian. You can maybe throw out claims that maybe that’s not what he said. I’m not going to say that. I’m not going to jump on that conspiracy bandwagon, but I think if that is in fact what he did say, I would not be surprised if that’s not something that he hadn’t thought about a long time ago before coming to Strikeforce, maybe before even the demise of PRIDE.”

LUTFI SARIAHMED: “Fair point. Fair point. But in terms of just his general demeanor, in terms of how he handled the loss, I just think it goes like you said I mean you’re kind of bothered by it, sure, because it’s supposed to be a big deal. All the fans, writers, pundits, everybody making it out to be a big deal because it is in large part and Fedor just kind of shrugged his shoulders, oh well, I lost, you move on. I think that kind of goes along with that mythical personality that we’ve talking about for so long. I mean this is a guy that seems that has seemed and seems just above all of it, if you will, just above anything and everything that’s going on in his sport. Whatever may happens, happens, and you just move on and I think now with this loss he kind of still tries to maintain that sort of figure. OF course we know that I mean there’s certainly some gleam, that the shine has worn off if you will after this loss but it just goes right along with the personality that has been Fedor for so long.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “You know I’ve gotten e-mails about does this hurt Fedor’s marketability. Does this mean Zuffa and Dana White have no interesting in bringing him into the UFC. Again, let’s put that to rest. If Fedor Emelianenko leaves Strikeforce or M-1 works out a deal for him to fight elsewhere and the UFC’s an option, you got to believe that Dana White still wants him.”

LUTFI SARIAHMED: “The only thing that this costs Fedor is basically demanding 97 different things. He wants to go leave for Sambo, he wants to go do this, this, that, and the other thing. because the UFC has no reason to oblige him on that. I mean, that’s the only thing. He’s got the one fight left in Strikeforce. It will probably be against Fabricio Werdum for that rematch but if he were to be free of his contract tomorrow UFC would sign him and the UFC would just change some of the demands now because obviously he’s not this undefeated cyborg fighter.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Well, to be fair, it’s his second loss. I know the TK loss was sort of a debacle and a lot of people just didn’t like to acknowledge it but still, it is his second loss and again, Mixed Martial Arts is one of the hardest sports in the entire world to be the best at.”

LUTFI SARIAHMED: “No doubt.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “I really, I mean… Lutfi, as time goes on, I highly doubt we ever see someone come in from day one, dominate until the day they end fighting and be undefeated. It’s just not going to happen. Too many things will prevent a fighter from being flawless, whether it’s an elbow, whether it’s a slip, whether it’s something. I mean… you know, Fedor though, greatest Mixed Martial Artist in the history of the sport in my opinion right now. I’d have to go with him. However, I think that fighters like Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre really not that far behind.”

LUTFI SARIAHMED: “No and I think we’re going to judge our levels of greatness very differently from between now five years from now and ten years from now when other guys will probably be able to approach that mantle. They will probably be able to approach that level that Fedor does and has because it will be a very different game. You’ll have very different circumstances in MMA, very different ways of fighting in MMA in the future than we have now and I think you’ll judge them by different standard, same way you do in a lot of other sports comparing different eras and we had that discussion I think a couple of weeks ago in regard to eras in this sport and I think the same thing will happen. But, yeah, right now the way things stand and I think it would be, you would be hard-pressed to argue otherwise that the greatest in our sport right now, Fedor Emelianenko. No question about it. Now, what this means, it doesn’t really mean though that he’s done. I mean, he’s still, there’s still a big story there with him and that’s obviously what happens next with him because it’s not as if he’s just going to go retire on this loss. He’s got still the one fight with Strikeforce. He’s probably got a career with the UFC coming up right now which I think is more likely because of this loss now.”

TJ DE SANTIS: “Yeah, we’ll see. I don’t know if it’s more likely, he still has to deal with M-1 and the demands. I really, I mean, maybe some of those demands will be a little bit more negotiable with a loss, but I highly doubt it. I really see them sticking to their guns, wanting to co-promote, that’s just not going to happen with Zuffa or the UFC and really I mean if it does it’ll be shocking.”

Topics: M-1, Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 30 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

30 Responses to “Do you still consider Fedor to be the most clutch fighter in MMA?”

  1. Brock Lesnar Fan says:

    Lets be honest, much of Fedor’s reputation has been built up through careful cherry picking of opponents and the dodging of legitimate threats. The guy is certainly talented no doubt and i would definitely enjoy watching him fight again, but its time to reign in this bloated mythology people have built up around him and realize he’s a regular guy who would have lost a lot sooner had he been in a UFC style system that forces him to fight certain ‘undesirable’ matchups.

    • Isaiah says:

      Except that he and his team have aggressively pursued the highest-ranked opposition available since the HMC fight. Whether those guys were generally ranked accurately or not, it seems pretty absurd to suggest that he was carefully avoiding anyone.

    • Jonathan says:

      I would expect nothing less from someone called “Brock Lesnar Fan”

      Do I still consider him to be the most “clutch” fighter? Not sure.

      GOAT? Yes. Will it say that way forever? I don’t know. There is a possibility of GSO passing him up if GSP continues this run of dominance for a few years and destroys everyone

      • SixT-4 says:

        GOAT at HW? Yeah, but there aren’t really many candidates.

        GOAT P4P? Are you kidding me? How can you hold him above GSP? Fedor made his name from 03-05 as #1, and then just kept “topping up” that status by fighting guys like Coleman, and overhyped middleweights like Lindland.

        His only two good wins in the last 5 years are Timmah and AA, and I have a hard time counting the Timmah victory.

        Does media hype really have this sort of effect on people? Do they just stop looking at the facts and let the media soundbites do their thinking for them? I just don’t get it.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Too many people look at the time he was #1 instead of the quality of it. He did basically nothing for 5 years. He shouldn’t get bonus points for that.

  2. Kyle says:

    Sherdog and MMAWeekly have Brock at #1, Werdum at #2. Junior Dos who?

    • Werdum recovered from the loss to Dos Santos and beat the #1 heavyweight in the world. Dos Santos has spent his time since fighting Werdum not fighting any top 15 heavyweights.

      • Oh Yeah says:

        Gonzaga didn’t make the top 15?

        • If he was, he was somewhere between 13-15. Again: Not exactly as high as Fedor (consensus #1).

          To use another example: Frankie Edgar lost to Gray Maynard. Beat the consensus #1 lightweight. Maynard hasn’t beaten a consensus top 10 lightweight since that fight and neither man lost. You know who is ranked higher? Frankie Edgar.

        • edub says:

          Gonzaga was around there.

          Edgar also beat Franca and Sherk(while both were relevant)to make his way back to the title shot….

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    Heavyweight has always been a weak division. Since it’s start, it has been filled with oversize LHW’s and 1 to 2 dimensional fighters. So “finding an opponents weaknesses” is much easier at 265 then it is at 170.

    Fedor is the best Heavyweight of all time. I wouldn’t say he is the best fighter of all time. And his status at Heavyweight is sure to fall in the future. The division has risen to a new level. The guys who can dominate in the future will surely be better then the past fighters.

    Fedor was the best from 2001 to 2005. Then he took 3 years off and then was extremey careful on who he fought. I’ve been saying this stuff for years and finally others are realizing it after his dreadful performance against Werdum. He just wasn’t caught. He looked like a novice out there.

    GSP is the best ever. His resume, even at this point in his career is much more substantial in a division that was much harder.

    And I do think both Machida and Fedor are going to lose one of their next 2 fights. I don’t think either will handle losses well. And people won’t be able to say Fedor is just too old. He is still younger. He never had a grueling schedule that would make him older. The sport is just passing him by technically and physically. And you can’t be a GOAT when that is happening during your prime years.

  4. Oh Yeah says:

    I guess we’re not going to get Fedor vs. AO. Was looking forward to that one.

  5. Robert Poole says:

    Jesus TJ De Santis is a Fedor nuthugger.

    Look whether or not he is the GOAT at Heavyweight is probably not debatable right now because when he was in Pride he beat much better competition than anyone currently has faced over a career in UFC.

    However to say that he picks Fedor over everyone and is confident in that pick really seems like a fanboy than the voice of an objective journalist type.

    I was not at all surprised Fedor lost to Werdum. He looked horrible against a very green and not all that talented Brett Rogers and he had issues with Arlovski’s boxing technique before Arlovski got stupid and tried the Flying Knee of Death.

    He hasn’t looked sharp in some time so to think he’d just coast through Brock or Carwin or even Cain would seem pretty obnoxious. I wasn’t even sure he could beat Overeem.

    Fedor is still a Top 10 Heavyweight but just barely. And to act as if Werdum was just a fluke when the previous two fights he didn’t look all that fantastic either, seems to be ignoring the obvious.

  6. Michaelthebox says:

    Fedor is still the greatest fighter of all time, but he’ll almost certainly be displaced over the next few years by either GSP or Anderson Silva. Fedor’s consistent fighting of subpar opposition over his career just makes his overall record too weak to stand up against the kind of opposition that the elite fighters in the UFC have to face.

    • IceMuncher says:

      I think the other 2 you mentioned already beat him. I don’t know why “top 10 fighter” is the metric of choice, because if you’re the champ you should be fighting top 5 guys until you beat them all, and only then should you be fighting top 10 guys. GSP and Silva have beaten more top 5 guys than Fedor has, and they did it more impressively.

  7. EJ says:

    Silva has cleared out his division and basically been untouchable since coming to the UFC, he didn’t cherry pick who he fought and where unlike Fedor.

  8. Jonathan says:

    So Fedor loses one fight and suddenly he is a worthless fighter? All you guys are pathetic UFC fanboys. You guys rank Lesnar as the number one heavyweight even though he has a total of five (5) fights in his total “career” and his last fight was at UFC 100.

    Can someone justify this to me?

    • Isaiah says:

      Some influential people have wanted Brock to be ranked No. 1 almost since he came into MMA. As long as Fedor was undefeated, it was impossible for any site to go along with that without losing all credibility. Now it isn’t. It’s really just that simple.

  9. HLAMNENADA says:

    Nobody will respond to your post Jonathan, because nobody responded to mine, because they can’t. All the TUF teenagers can only say that Brock is the best without any reason except for the reason that Dana gave. “Just Because”

    • edub says:

      Why would anyone resposnd when the post starts out with “blah blah UFC Fanboys…”

      “All the TUF teenagers can only say that Brock is the best without any reason except for the reason that Dana gave. “Just Because””

      If Brock beats Carwin than he’s got 3 straight top 5 wins. That is the best run in the HW division right now. If Carwin wins than that’s 2 straight top 5 wins, with one top 10 before that Him and Werdum could be a toss up, but I’d have to give it to Shane.

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