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Comparing Fedor to Sakuraba and why Fedor is MMA’s all-time most divisive fighter

By Zach Arnold | February 16, 2011

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Jordan Breen made the comparison on his radio show yesterday and here’s what he had to say.

“I think Fedor’s one of the most interesting guys, possibly the most interesting guy to talk about from a historical perspective in MMA because he polarizes people in a way that NOBODY else does. Now, take someone like (Kazushi) Sakuraba for instance. Sakuraba’s always been an interesting guy to me because he’s more important than (what) he has achieved. You can’t even attempt to tell the tale of what MMA looks like and how it developed without Sakuraba. His feud with the Gracies (is), apart from maybe Jiu-Jitsu against Luta Livre, the most important rivalry in MMA history and you can’t possibly synthesize the tale of MMA without it. And he was great. And he’s one of those guys that if he trained today and fought at 170 pounds earlier in his career, who knows how good Sakuraba would be?

“The point is, in terms of actually beating really good fighters, I mean… (Guy) Mezger and Renzo (Gracie) and like (Kevin) Randleman, like those are like his big wins. Because his wins were more symbolic than they were accomplishment, if that makes sense. He’s someone who … his best wins came in an era in Mixed Martial Arts where it wasn’t about weight classes and every three months, you know, you’re the champion every three months and you face a great challenger or anything like that. It was still kind of a style vs. style thing, still something more large and nebulous and hard-to-figure-out but the shows of brilliance that he had even against guys like Anthony Macias were so spellbinding that they helped move us and shift us in a way towards learning more true essential facts in MMA like, maybe, jiu-jitsu isn’t the be-all, end-all or the feud with the Gracie family really helped give us a sense of what MMA was really about. But we know his actual wins don’t stack up to someone like Anderson Silva or Georges St. Pierre. So, he’s always been kind of curious.

“And now I think Fedor’s occupied a space like that for a different reason. He competed in an era with weight classes and with that idea of facing good competition. But, his post-PRIDE career, because of the way it was handled, because of the M-1 situation, because of not going to the UFC, he’s divided people in a way in which people are nothing short of radicalized. People either believe that Fedor is the greatest fighter and that any thing that can be considered besmirching his good name is worth going psychotic over or, conversely, people act as though this guy was all smoke-and-mirrors, he never actually beat anyone good, and partake in some kind of bizarre revisionist history where apparently there has never been a meaningful Heavyweight fight in the history of Mixed Martial Arts. Both of them are patently absurd.

“What I would say for Fedor is people, some people, will always feel that, ‘oh, he’s the greatest Heavyweight ever and in his prime no one cold ever beat him,’ but I think most people will have a fairly regulated view that ‘this guy’s the best Heavyweight we’ve seen but maybe his résumé isn’t beyond reproach.’ And this is something that I’ll talk about in a minute, you know, vis-à-vis another e-mail in a moment, but something that was brought up … broaching the idea that, hey, let’s say Cain (Velasquez) reigned for three years as UFC champion. What it means to be UFC champion, the cycle of challengers put in front of you, you don’t get time for a Matt Lindland or a Mark Hunt or Zuluzinho, so would it stand to reason if someone like Cain or Junior dos Santos won the title, if they reigned three or four years, wouldn’t their résumé that they pile up would be better than Fedor Emelianenko’s? And possibly, that’s something that we’d have to cross the bridge when we come to it. But there’s no getting away from the fact that, yeah, Nogueira may not great now, but those two wins at the time were against the best Heavyweight in the world and then the second best Heavyweight in the world. When (Fedor) fought Mirko Cro Cop, Mirko Cro Cop was considered, at worst, the third best Heavyweight in the world by most people and it was the most anticipated fight MMA had ever seen to that point in time. Arlovski & Sylvia, yeah they’re not great but they’re both considered Top 10 guys when he beat them. Fedor still beat a very, very hearty cross-section of most relevant Heavyweights of his era and has done it more successfully than other Heavyweights.

“Was he perfect? No, absolutely not. Would have been great to see him fight a (Josh) Barnett or had he beaten (Fabricio) Werdum, there are certainly ways his résumé could have been improved upon. No question. But… he’s still better than the contemporaries that he was put shoulder-to-shoulder with in that same era and that’s all we do, we compare other Heavyweights. For now, he’s the best. Now, there will always be people who vehemently believe he is THE BEST fighter in the history of time, just like there are people who probably believe, I don’t know, uh… Gale Sayers is the best football player in the history of time or something like that. There are certain people who excite certain kinds of fanaticism that don’t die, but I do suspect that most people, not all, but most will have a fairly moderate and thoughtful view of Fedor Emelianenko’s career when its all said and done, if it has been all said-and-done at this point in time.”

Personally, I think it’s an apples-and-oranges comparison. Fedor’s whole career was built on destroying everyone. Wins and losses mattered a lot to him. Kazushi Sakuraba’s career was built largely on symbolism. He was treat as a midcarder when he was in UWF-International while the bookers (Yoji Anjoh & Nobuhiko Takada) were busy putting themselves over. Sakuraba was treated as a talented job guy during the UWF/New Japan interpromotional feud. Remember, the beginnings of the Sakuraba/Gracie feud involved the infamous Los Angeles incident where Yoji Anjoh, who had no business challenging real fighters, went to Rickson Gracie’s gym and had Japanese photographers (like Jimmy Suzuki) with him to shoot an angle to make Anjoh look tough by calling out Rickson. Of course, we all know what happened there. Once Anjoh got his ass kicked, the premise of PRIDE was built with Takada answering the calls back home to step up and defend the UWF family against Rickson. Takada lost twice and that created the opening for Naoki Sano, Kazushi Sakuraba, and others.

When PRIDE was created, it’s purpose was to suck the soul out of pro-wrestling by using that kind of marketing and booking. So, when Sakuraba made the transition to MMA fighter, he was representing Japanese pro-wrestling as a whole in the eyes of fans. He was the national hero representing a sport that fans viewed as being attacked by a hybrid sport that integrated techniques that they had witnessed in pro-wrestling for years.

Fedor never represented any of that. His Japanese debut was in RINGS. He won. He fought in the last RINGS match ever in Yokohama. Then he moved to PRIDE and became the ace. He didn’t ‘feud’ with fighters. Yes, he had a series with Nogueira, but it wasn’t a storyline feud like Sakuraba vs. the Gracies or other fighters in PRIDE who were given their own storylines (like Rampage Jackson being a homeless man living on a bus and talking to pigeons).

Topics: Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 62 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

62 Responses to “Comparing Fedor to Sakuraba and why Fedor is MMA’s all-time most divisive fighter”

  1. David Ditch says:

    Fedor represents an era that’s a bridge between early ‘wild west’ MMA and today’s more professional MMA. Yes, you still get things like Brock Lesnar being quickly given title shots, but you won’t see the equivalent of Fedor vs Nagata or Fedor vs Choi or Fedor vs TK in 2005, today. That’s a point Breen spoke to. I’m very much in the ‘moderate’ camp. Fedor beat a TON of guys seen as top fighters at the time. Yet he spent his time in promotions that were either very pro wrestling influenced (RINGS, PRIDE) or were B-level promotions, so by the standards of current UFC, Fedor was never in a true top-level MMA fed. Thus, UFC fans don’t think Fedor could be compared to, say, GSP as far as career accomplishments. What really hurts is that Fedor could have gone to UFC, and done so years ago, but he didn’t.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Fedor is the best Heavyweight of all time. But as Breen said, there is room for somebody to pass him just at Heavyweight. And GSP & Silva already passed him overall.

    The “what if” will always keep Fedor back in discussions for the future.

    I also think once he retires, Internet message board volumes will go slightly down. There is nobody to replace him in terms of debate.

    M-1 certainly did do something…. They took a guy on paper who could have been a shoe-in for the best ever debate…. And threw enough of a wrench into the equation that his legacy will always be more about what went wrong then what he accomplished. Which is sad, because he had a great run in Pride for 3 years + of dominance….

    • IceMuncher says:

      I also put Matt Hughes above Fedor on all time champs. During his reign at the top, there wasn’t anybody noteworthy at 170 he didn’t beat, including a greenish GSP. Also to put it in perspective, he has just as many title wins as A. Silva, although he did it over the course of two title runs because of the Penn loss. Iirc, I also think he had only a single decision win as champ, against Sean Sherk; everything else was a finish. That is freaking dominant.

      So:
      1) Silva
      2) GSP
      3) Hughes
      4) Fedor

      • JRN says:

        There is actually one noteworthy guy at 170 Hughes didn’t beat–Anderson Silva, who won the Shooto 76kg title from Hayato Sakurai in 2001. Sakurai fought and lost to Hughes the following year.

        Of course, it’s not Hughes or the UFC’s fault that fight didn’t happen, since Anderson signed with PRIDE and moved up in weight. In fact, I recall hearing that the UFC tried to get Anderson to challenge Hughes, and wound up with Sakurai as their second choice.

        Crazy to think of what might have been had that fight been signed.

  3. edub says:

    Good points by both of you guys. I hope he is right, but being online at different sites you can see the venom Jordan speaks of. Fedor is either the greatest of all time, or was never that good. It’s really puzzling.

    As for myself I view him as the greatest HW of all time and I think Cain, Carwin, Overeem, Werdum, Lesnar, Silva, Jds, or someone else would have to go on a really exceptional run to knock him off that mantle. However, I view Anderson and GSP as better fighters from an all time stand point already.

    • Progress says:

      There is no question Fedor is the greatest. The problem is that there are way too many intellectually dishonest UFC fanboys around. This makes it seem as if people are divided on the issue.

      I think Overreem can surpass Fedor. The rest are protected by the UFC’s use of exclusive contracts and are only fighting twice a year.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    Alistair Overeem still hasn’t been paid by K-1. Even if they come back…. Who is going to trust them?

    The quicker we see all of their best fighters come to America the better.

  5. sammy says:

    “by the standards of current UFC, Fedor was never in a true top-level MMA fed’

    This is patently false. Regardless of being “Pro-wrestling influenced” Pride was the top MMA organization in the world from 1997-2007. That simply cannot be disputed by anyone who knows anything about MMA.

    By the way, 45 Huddle is a flip flopper, but at least he finally acknowledged what the rest of us (with brains) already knew.

  6. bundt says:

    Breen’s completely full of shit like always. You can’t tell the story of MMA without Sakuraba, but you can summarize sakuraba AND BRING UP HIS “WIN” over Mezger without talking about the controversy surrounding that fight.

    You know if I didn’t know better, and this was some random poster somewhere, I would accuse them of needing to watch the fights they’re talking about.

    And it’s not revisionist to say Fedor didn’t fight many top opponents. It’s just correct. Even Breen isn’t pretending he beat more than two other guys worth mentioning, Cro Cop and Nog. The first time he beat Nog, Nog couldn’t stand up without assistance. And the third fight Fedor avoided the floor like kids pretending the ground is lava.

    It’s not even worth comparing Fedor to guys like Nogueira, Mir, Couture, etc, because they actually fought a lot of good opponents.

    • bundt says:

      I hope that made you guys who think everyone who is critical of Fedor is unfair feel good about yourselves. There are plenty of sensible people out there who recognize that Fedor was a talented fighter, but don’t think he proved it.

      Hey I forgot to mention Breen’s false dichotomy action! There is a ton of middle ground in this argument, tards who have something personal invested in fedor are the only ones who see this as a “radical” or “divisive” topic, because they lump everyone who disagrees with them together. It’s flat out intellectually lazy.

  7. edub says:

    “It’s not even worth comparing Fedor to guys like Nogueira, Mir, Couture, etc, because they actually fought a lot of good opponents.”

    Fedor fought Herring when he was still a top ten HW, Mark Coleman at his peak, and Andrei Arlovski/Tim Sylvia when they were both top ten ranked opponents in MMA. Also beating Lindland when he was a top 3 MW. Not to mention Goodrich, Randleman, and Schilt who were all decent wins at the time.

    Who have Nogueira, Mir, and Couture fought that were so much better?

  8. bundt says:

    You honestly aren’t even worth responding to. Fedor in no way shape or form beat Coleman at his peak. And Heath Herring? Get a grip.

    • bundt says:

      Also you are literally dumb if you think being Top Ten at HW at any given time is an accomplishment that means you are a good fighter, additionally, you are literally dumb if you try to use rankings in an argument for who was a good fighter at any given time. Rule #1 Of MMA: Rankings Suck.

      • MK says:

        Why use ranking when we can just manufacture hype?…brilliant

        Fedor is one of the goat’s in MMA but it’s a sport that is not even 20 years old. I would already have GSP ahead had he not lost to Serra.

      • Isaiah says:

        Funny how this guy crazily launches into personal attacks while at the same time claiming that the subject isn’t divisive (only “tards” who disagree with bundt think this is a divisive subject). If that was intentional humor, kudos.

    • edub says:

      And yet you still responded.

      Mark Coleman was at his fighting peak in 2004. He might have been more athletic in the earlier days, but he became much better mixed martial artist in Pride. Even if he barey used anything out side of wrestling.

      Yes Heath Herring. At one point he was actually a pretty talented guy. Back before he was 260 and looked like he trained 1 day a week.

      Calling someone dumb after saying Couture, Big Nog, and Mir fought better competition than Fedor is kinda like the pot calling the kettle black. Actually it’s more like outer space calling the kettle black.

      Fedor fought the best competition available for many fights of his career. Mir, Nog, and Couture aren’t even close to Fedor’s accomplishments.

      I don’t know if it’s possible to be literally dumb, but if it is well…

      • fd says:

        Fedor’s major wins in Pride – Nogueira, Crocop, Coleman, Herring, Randleman, Fujita, Schilt, Goodridge

        Nogueira’s major wins in Pride – Crocop, Coleman, Herring, Schilt, Goodridge, Ricco, Kharitonov, Werdum, Barnett

        Fedor’s major wins post-Pride – Sylvia, Arlovski, Rogers

        Nogueira’s major wins post-Pride – Sylvia, Couture

        You think Nogueira “isn’t even close” to Fedor’s accomplishments? You think Fujita, Arlovski and Rogers outweigh Ricco, Kharitonov, Werdum, Barnett, and Couture?

        Give me a break.

        • edub says:

          Yes I do.

          Especsially when you take into account the fact that Fedor beat him decisively twice in their prime. Nogueira is the second best HW of all time at the moment, but that doesn’t mean he is close to Fedor.

          Inside those wins for Fedor he lost once by accidental elbow that would be a no contest here (if elbows were illegal like in Rings). Inside Nogueira’s wins he has two losses, one to Dan Henderson and one to Josh Barnett.

          If your gonna use Ricco, I’ll use Ricardo Arona who was a better wrestler and better BJJ practicioner. However, I didn’t put that down earlier because it was a questionable W, just like Nog’s win over Ricco.

  9. nottheface says:

    I don’t mind people arguing that he wasn’t the greatest or that he was even overrated but there seems to be an attempt by some to cast him as fraud. As if he has never been good or as if everything has been smoke and mirrors the last couple of years. So here are some interesting Fedor tidbits for those revisionists trying to argue he was never good:
    * Between June of 2002 and Dec of 2006 when he fought in Pride (and a few other places) he fought 17 times and went 16-0-1
    * 8 times his opponents was a top 10 HW and 1 time it was a top ten LHW
    * For comparison the records of his three UFC contemporaries were:
    – Tim Sylvia 11-2 while going 5-2 against top 10 HWs
    – Andrei Arlovski 7-2 while going 2-2 against top 10 HWs
    – Frank Mir 5-3 while going 1-1 against top 10 HWS
    * 2007 can be completely thrown out. The only defense is for the Lindland fight is that Jeff Monson was originally booked. There is no defense for Hong-Man Choi
    * Tim Sylvia – who was ranked #5 in the census rankings at the time – was actually the number one contender from the UFC Fedor in 2008. A few months earlier the UFC had their top two fighters – Big Nog and Sylvia – fight for the interim belt. Because Fedor had already beaten Big Nog twice and Randy was retired (and being denied a chance to fight Fedor by Zuffa) Sylvia was rightfully the UFC’s number one challenger to his crown.
    * Andrei Arlovski was the true number 1 contender in January of 2009. When the bout was signed in November of 2008 Randy Couture had just lost, after taking 14 months off, Brock Lesnar was 3-1, Frank Mir was 3-2 since returning to the UFC and had yet to beat a single ranked opponent – and neither Shane Carwin or Cain Velasquez had yet to even face a ranked opponent. Arlovski was on a 5 fight win streak over a #6, #10, and #17 opponent, and was 11 -2 over his last 13, having only lost to one man that entire time.
    ALSO it should be noted that Arlovski has gone 2-4 since leaving the UFC. The two opponents he beat both got tickets to the UFC, the four he lost to are in the Grand Prix
    * Brett Rogers was just as legitimate opponent for Fedor as Carwin was when he was originally signed to fight Brock in November of 2009. Their records were almost identical. Rogers: ranked #8, 10-0 (almost all by 1st round KO), 1 win of note over the #3 HW. Carwin: 11-0 (almost all by 1st round KO), 1 win of note over the #9 HW
    * Werdum and Bigfoot are actually really good.
    * Since 2008 Fedor has faced 5 top 10 HW. No other HW (Brock (4), Big Nog (4), Brett Rogers (3), Carwin (3). Mir (3), Cain (2), Arlovski (2), Werdum (2), Nelson (2), JDS (1) has faced as many during this span.

    • Johnny D says:

      You speak the truth sir. All you have to do is look at the history of MMA intelligently to see that Fedor is the best fighter of all time. The thing I find most amusing is that if he had gone to the UFC and had the same fight results as he’s had with Affliction/Strikeforce people would be hailing him as the G.O.A.T. There would be no bigger Fedor nut hugger in the universe than Dana White.

    • Mr. Roadblock says:

      I agree that from 2002-2008 Fedor was the number 1 HW. He has had the best career of anyone in MMA to this point in time. He gave us a lot of fun and exciting nights.

      He will go down in history as the best fighter of the era when fighters went from being one dimensional (either a striker or grappler) to more well rounded.

      What will cost him and why he will be largely forgotten in years is that he walked away from top competition when the next evolution occurred. All of his major wins came in now defunct organizations. They were also tied to the other top fighters of his era who were annihilated by the new breed of competitors.

      • The Gaijin says:

        It really is too bad that he didn’t get to die a warrior’s death and go out on his shield in front of a massive audience.

        And hey maybe he came to the UFC in 2008 and ran roughshod – he could have walked in before everyone know Brock reacted like Bob Sapp when he got hit in the face and looked like superman. Chances are if he was fighting Cain, JDS, Carwin, Lesnar and everyone else they threw at him he would have eventually lost.

        There’s no shame in losing to Werdum and Bigfoot – they are legitimate elite HW’s, but they lack the star power and fan awareness (maybe that will change). But ultimately I think his legacy would have been better served going to the UFC. Hindsight is 20/20 because if he won his last two this isn’t an issue.

        • Isaiah says:

          The thing is, both Sylvia and Arlovski left the UFC to fight Fedor (directly or not). If Fedor had joined the UFC after Pride collapsed, he most likely would have faced those two (having already beaten Nog and with Brock, Carwin, JDS, and Cain not established). Werdum might have been next, and, as you say, Brock’s striking weakness and lack of BJJ (sub defense, and also he probably wouldn’t have been able to prevent Fedor’s backdoor mount escape) would have hurt him against Fedor.

          Fedor probably would have lost at about the same time after having faced a similar run of competition, but because Internet fans are so hung up on propaganda wars, he wouldn’t have been as divisive a figure and so he’d be more highly regarded.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “Fedor probably would have lost at about the same time after having faced a similar run of competition, but because Internet fans are so hung up on propaganda wars, he wouldn’t have been as divisive a figure and so he’d be more highly regarded.”

          Ding ding ding! Exactly. He’d be held in insanely high regard.

          You would have had the word legend, cyborg, GOAT-HW mercilessly driven into your head by the best propaganda machine in the sport until you had no choice but to believe it. Instead there was a back and forth message of GOAT-fraud-BEST-ducker-GOAT-and finally total smear campaign messages coming from the face of MMA. They also own 95% of his fight video and could effectively erase much of his accomplishments from the history books.

  10. IceMuncher says:

    50 years from now, maybe a couple of guys from today’s era will be remembered by name, and I’ll bet neither Fedor nor Sakuraba will be one of them. Not to say they didn’t both have great careers, but the fact is that the UFC is the victor, and the victor is writing the history books. At best, only about 10% of current MMA fans even heard of them, and that percentage can only go down with time.

    • Sakuraba is only notable in Japan and the immediate future of the sport there is uncertain, much less the long term one. He’ll go down as important, but he’ll be a figure like Jake Kilrain is in boxing as something who is notable but generally forgotten by even hardcore fans.

      • Nottheface says:

        Kilrain should have beaten Sullivan.

      • Isaiah says:

        Nah. There’s video of him (a lot of it) and he was a highly entertaining fighter as well as a legend. If I had to compare him to a boxer, it would be Sam Langford, but again, it’s different when you have high-quality footage.

        • The problem with the comparison to the old boxers is, as you say, one of footage. We don’t have any of them, simply put. I guess an argument could be made that Sakuraba was a bit like the Harry Greb of his era in that he fought bigger men…but those were often exhibitions and not true fights. More over, Greb won actual titles. Sakuraba only got a belt he made himself.

          Langford also never really got the chance to be the best he could be as a result of his skin color. Sakuraba got too many opportunities at the top.

        • Isaiah says:

          Well, it’s not going to be a perfect comparison, but Saku was a legend in the early days of the sport fighting over his best weight against mostly bigger, though not necessarily very good, opponents.

          Even though I suspect that I regard Saku much more highly than you do (I think he’d be a star today if he were in his prime), I think Greb was a far greater fighter in his sport than Saku was in his–to the point that I don’t like the comparison. Cleaned out a glamor division and is generally considered one of the very best ever in that division. I guess he did fight before talent really exploded in boxing (Ike Williams was the oldest fighter I’ve seen who I think could be a champ today. Louis was p4p better than any HW today, but I don’t think he’d overcome the size disadvantage).

        • Louis is a mystery to me. I know that little dudes will have trouble with the Klitschkos, but at the same time, we’ve seen so many examples of good little man beating not as good big man in recent years (every Pacquiao fight in the last couple years, in the HWs you have Chambers/Dimitrenko to go with) that I think Louis would have a real shot. He would demolish cruiserweight too. Plus, you get into the discussion of “modern training methods” and steroids. Joe Louis using HGH covertly for a career would be a monster. He was taller and longer than Mike Tyson, remember. Tyson too fought at a time when the discussion was that bigger heavyweights would rule supreme.

        • Isaiah says:

          It’s possible. Louis was an amazing fighter, but he had a shaky chin and he wasn’t as mobile as I’d like a smaller guy to be.

          I remember a segment on ESPN Classic when Tommy Morrison, Bert Sugar, and Manny Steward were talking about Lennox Lewis, and Morrison expressed the opinion that Rocky Marciano wouldn’t be successful today and that he (Morrison) would beat Rocky. Steward just about snorted at the idea and had to take a second to calm himself down before actually saying anything. He thought Lennox was one of the best ever but he didn’t think the Klitschkos were and he didn’t buy the notion of modern HWs being generally superior. Obviously Steward knows a lot more about this stuff than I do, so I recognize that I could be wrong.

        • edub says:

          What about WIllie Pep? I always thought comparisons between those two made sense because Willie Pep was an exciting defensive fighter, while Saku was an exciting wrestler in MMA. WIllie did however dominate his division more, but Saku fought about 3 divisions over what he should have been fighting at. I guess I could be reaching a little.

          Would anyone expect Marciano to even compete at HW today? He was 184 lbs walking into the ring. Samuel Peter couldn’t even put away a supposedly fragile chinned Wladimir and he hits like a goddamn truck. However, he might’ve beaten Morrison.

          On a side note: Does anyone on here know what weight Saku competed at when he was involved in collegiate and amatuer in Japan?

        • Isaiah says:

          I wouldn’t expect Marciano to be competitive with the top HWs today, but I’m saying that Steward would, and he knows a lot more than me about that stuff, so I have an open mind about it.

        • edub says:

          Isaiah_ I agree. I didn’t mean to say he wouldn’t be compeitive, but I am in agreement with you on the issue. If a guy like Manny thinks he could you have to at least entertain the opinion, eventhough all his best wins were against guys who were themselves undersized for the division.

          I was talking about actually competing in the weight class. With the size he was he could effectively move down to LHW or even 168 to make the most money today. He wouldn’t even have to worry about the big guys.

  11. AKH says:

    Whatever. Sakuraba had his day. Fedor had his day. The bottom line is this sport is in it’s infancy and evolving at a super rapid pace. Sure SAKU and FEDOR were far beyond their peers between 2000 to 2009, but it’s a new century and the sport and the fighters have evolved, but those 2 guys have not.

    It doesn’t take away their status, but age, styles, and techniques have clearly caught up to them. It’s not good or bad, it’s just how it is. I suggest fanboys move the fuck on as well.

    Hopefully SF can milk what they can outta Fedor without him taking too much damage, and in the process make new stars(Overeem/Werdum/Bigfoot).

  12. sammy ass@gmail.com says:

    Saying no one will remember Fedor in 50 years is like saying no one would remember Jack Johnson or Jack Dempsey. Ridiculous.

    UFC will write the history books? So what, Tim Sylvia and Frank Mir will go down as the legendary fighters of 2000-2010. Ok, Sure.

    • Isaiah says:

      Yeah, I think people are really underrating future analysts, especially since they’ll have video of all these guys. Zuffa is on top of the promotional game right now, but that doesn’t mean that future historians are just going to stupidly accept the claims of an obviously interested party, especially if those claims contradict what people can see with their own eyes and what contemporary independent sources have said (for example, consensus rankings that had AA at No. 2).

      • IceMuncher says:

        Fedor spent most of his career in defunct promotions that never made a splash in America. I mean, we’re talking fringe promotions of a sport whose biggest entity, by far, is slightly better than fringe itself. I haven’t seen many ESPN shows run specials about the all time great NBL players. But you’re right, I’m sure these major analysts will care about Fedor in 50 years, even though every analyst outside of the fan blogs couldn’t care less about him right now.

        Fedor is not Jack Dempsy or Jack Johnson. People, and we’re talking about millions and millions of people, actually knew who those two boxers were and really cared about watching them fight. They were two of the most popular fighters in that era. Fedor is a fighter only hardcores know. There’s maybe half a million fans out there that know about Fedor’s career in Pride, and maybe half of that number are big fans.

        • Isaiah says:

          Meh. Who was Jack Johnson’s promoter? I don’t see anyone in the future caring about who promoted what fights.

        • The Gaijin says:

          For sure, and apparently the 5+ million “hardcores” that watched him fight on CBS and the 1.1 million “hardcores” that watched him fight on Showtime.

        • Isaiah says:

          BTW, boxing was a fringe sport in Johnson’s time, too. Barely legal. Dempsey was a huge star.

        • Isaiah says:

          Gaijin,
          That wasn’t PPV so even though Fedor was widely seen and was the consensus best HW in the world for almost a decade, it’s questionable how much money he made for his promoters, which we all know is the only thing that historians will care about.

        • The Gaijin says:

          @Isaiah, I was only pointing to the fact that clearly more than half of 500,000 knew about him and his career in pride. Especially in the torrent, youtube, internet age.

        • sammy says:

          And only America matters now?

          Millions upon millions of people in Asia are die-hard Fedor fans. Thats a fact.

  13. The Gaijin says:

    Oh dear god. Head Kick Legend just added f**kin’ “Subo” as an editor. Too bad I actually liked that site – desperate times call for desperate measures when you have a guy that doesn’t know f**k all about MMA as editor of a site about kickboxing, which he clearly knows even LESS about.

    Trainwrecks are fun. I for one, welcome the discussions about how Brock Lesnar would destroy all of the kickboxers who have been ducking him by fighting K-1.

    • Isaiah says:

      Subo is “over” as a gimmick in some places on the Internet, and I guess that’s valuable. Apparently he’s on the radio on BE, too, which is a site I thought he was banned from.

  14. robthom says:

    I judge how great Fed was just by watching him perform.

    How he fought.

    His quickness, his calmness, his power.

    Honestly I was never really impressed with (or cared about) his resume.

    The Nog fights were his highest achievements via the opponent.
    Crocop, god bless him, was always a bit more image then substance IMO.
    And by the time Pride FINALLY got around to making that match that was already becoming apparent, post randleman debacle.

    Which is what made it even more of a shame that by the time Fed got cut loose from prides shenanigans he went straight under the thumb of M1.

    I’ve always been more impressed just with Fedor.
    Albeit a Fedor half imagined for the fights he should have had and would have won IMO.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Yup. That’s why all these Subo types conducting their biased post-hoc analysis of a fighter through Fight Finder
      always make me laugh. They never actually watch a fight to see the devil in the details – boxing’s the same. The quasi-sabermetrics of staring at resumes and ranking, without reference to fights, is useless fluff.

      I mean, they’ll point to Brock thumping the 2008 Heath Herring as if it held the same weight as Fedor demolishing the 2002 version of him.

      Tough to carry on a useful discussion with someone who’s too busy cooking up talking points to actually watch said fights on the resume.

      • IceMuncher says:

        You have to look at his resume and quality of wins and historical significance to see Fedor’s greatness. If you judge him by his skillset and physical attributes, he’s been surpassed handily, and the level of competition in the HW division has been dramatically surpassed as well.

        • The Gaijin says:

          I realize I replied to someone who said “just”, so I understand if that made it unclear. I’m saying you have to look at EVERY factor/variable, not one thing (e.g. record), especially when you’re (not you specifically) purposely looking at only one variable in order to detract from a fighter’s accomplishments.

  15. sammy says:

    “if you judge him by his skillset and physical attributes, he’s been surpassed handily”

    I (dis)respectfully beg to differ. He is still (by far) the most well-rounded heavyweight that has ever fought.

    Name a single other HW that has the same combination of speed, skill, and KO power on the ground and standing up? Name a single other HW who has the same level of BOTH standup AND ground (submission) skills? There are none.

    Cain is very impressive, but can he pull off an armbar from his back (or any real submission, for that matter)? I dont think so.

  16. sammy says:

    And your claim that Cain could pull off an armbar from his back on those two is pure speculation based on what? All the times Cain has done it before? His strong record of submissions? Or your baseless, uneducated beliefs?

    • fd says:

      Nah, based mostly on the fact that Fedor isn’t particularly good at submissions from the bottom, as shown by him only having three in his career, all against two fighters who weren’t training in submissions at the time he fought them. Then completely failing to get one against Mark Hunt, who’s been subbed from the bottom by a fat lhw, a keylock from the bottom (lol) from Overeem, and another guy undefeated fighter who, like Cain, had no submission wins from the bottom at that point in his career.

      Fedor is good at many things. Subs from the bottom aren’t one of them.

      • sammy says:

        You are a seriously delusional person.

        Not only is that faulty logic, but hat doesnt answer the question of why Cain should be able to do that…

        • fd says:

          I’m delusional because I don’t think subbing Mark Coleman and Hong Man Choi from the bottom prove someone has great subs from the bottom? I’m delusional because I think trying and failing to sub Mark Hunt from the bottom indicates someone’s subs from the bottom probably aren’t that great?

          Because I’m pretty sure if the name “Fedor” wasn’t involved and someone tried to convince you that a fighter had great bottom subs because he armbarred Hong Man Choi and Coleman and failed to sub Hunt, he’d be the one you were calling delusional.

        • sammy says:

          Um…no..

          You should think before you speak “fd”

        • fd says:

          Well, with great counter-arguments like that, you’ve certainly given me something to think about.

  17. jackman says:

    So are you saying that Cain has the same level of submission skills as Fedor??? He has ZERO submissions on his record. Not sure how you would come to this conclusion other than because you are a hopeless fanboy.

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