Following the demise of PRIDE, hardcore MMA fans continued to hold out hope that someday, Fedor Emelianenko would sign with the UFC. Alas, it was not meant to be, and the legendary heavyweight finished out his career fighting for Strikeforce and then M-1 Global.
After “Affliction” ended it’s days a MMA promotion (yes, if you’re new to the sport the clothing line used to promote cards), the UFC reportedly attempted to bring Emelianenko on board. At the time, Fedor was the sport’s consensus G.O.A.T (greatest of all time) and no deal ever materialized. Instead, Emelianenko’s management company, M-1 Global, reached a cross promotional deal with Strikeforce, but “The Last Emperor” ended up going 1-3.
Well, the 37 year-old fighter is the feature guest on AXS TV’s “The Voice Versus Fedor” show, which will air this Friday. While speaking to host Michael Schiavello, that’s “The Voice”, Emelianenko was asked whether not fighting in the UFC tarnished his legacy.
Here is some of what the Russian star had to say in a sneak preview AXS TV has released (quotes via MMA Fighting.com):
“Well, the UFC didn’t want me to fight there, so what could I do? We were unable to make a deal,” Emelianenko said. “They offered unacceptable conditions. Actually, when I fought in PRIDE, we had the best fighters in the world. Back then the UFC had a very serious and big crisis. They were going through some hard times being able to get top fighters. All the best fighters were in PRIDE.”
“Later on, when PRIDE ceased to exist, the UFC didn’t immediately pick up speed. Currently, the UFC is a ‘super organization,’ in the world, probably the best. There are several top fighters in every weight category and in general it is hard to see the whole picture, I’d say. So there are some fighters whom it is interesting to watch, but the rest of them, well, it’s not interesting for me.”
Of course, one could argue that Fedor’s powers had started to diminish, by the time he would have signed with the UFC. It’s a point others have made, since the heavyweight was defeated by Fabricio Werdum, “Bigfoot” Silva and Dan Henderson in 2010 and 2011.
Even before the sambo guru signed with Strikeforce, he looked somewhat vulnerable in his bouts versus Andrei Arlovski and Brett Rogers, although, in a sport like MMA that’s not hard. All that said, fans never got to see Emelianenko face the UFC’s top heavyweights at that juncture.
Perhaps the biggest question that remains debated until this day, is just how big a fight between Fedor and Brock Lesnar could have been. UFC boss man Dana White reportedly tried to make the bout, which certainly had the potential to be MMA’s biggest selling fight of all time.
Even today, despite the fact Fedor and Lesnar have been out of the game for a couple of years, that fight would be hee-uge.
Emelianenko hung up the gloves armed with a three fight win streak, which moved his pro record to 34-4. The fighter made his MMA debut way back in 2000.