But Fedor shocked the world yet again and didn't lose his fight this past weekend.
Now, he also didn't win, but that's beside the point. Fedor's legend is enough to give a man kidney stones, and that is how he vanquished his foe this weekend as Mitrione was unable to take the fight. And thank God for that.
With Fedor Emelianenko, more than any other fighter, people underestimate how far this sport has come since his prime. Today, Fedor struggles against middling light heavyweights fighting up a weight class, but people claim that he could still dominate in his prime. I know it was only eight years ago when he was still an unstoppable cyborg who absolutely annihilated opponents, but this sport has transformed in the last eight years.
I know Fedor has this invincibility to him, but let's look at another legend from that time, Matt Hughes. Looking at his resume, Hughes is the second best welterweight in UFC history. But if Hughes is in his prime today, does he come anywhere near the title picture? Hell no. His ceiling is probably a .500 fighter in the UFC, and you can make a pretty good argument that he wouldn't even win a fight in today's UFC. His wrestling pedigree isn't anything special, and his striking straight up sucked. Maybe he can bulldog his way through some strikers without enough takedown defense, or maybe he just takes beatings while going for sloppy takedowns. Either way, he's not anywhere near elite in today's UFC.
It's the same story for Fedor. Fedor has powerful but sloppy striking, his sambo background helps him with throws, solid submissions and good body control, but there isn't one aspect of his game that you could say is elite. Because the heavyweight division is pretty weak right now, I could see Fedor having a solid career, but there is one kryptonite that he would never be able to overcome, and that is a good wrestler. Cain Velasquez, and hell, even Brock Lesnar, would be an absolute nightmare for Fedor. Wrestling is far superior to Sambo, and I think Fedor would learn that the hard way in today's MMA landscape. The only wrestlers that Fedor ever faced were Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman, two guys who almost seemed proud of their total lack of jiu jitsu knowledge. And even with that, Fedor almost had his life ended by this:
Fedor still has a great claim of being the greatest fighter ever, much like Babe Ruth has a great claim of being the greatest baseball player ever. Sure, baseball has changed over the last century, but MMA has changed nearly as much over the last decade. It doesn't take away from their legacy, and that means they have nothing to prove today. Fedor stepping into the cage to fight is as relevant to me as Babe Ruth getting dug up to step up to the plate. It simply doesn't matter. Fedor didn't lose this weekend. To me, that's a win.