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Morning Report: Daniel Cormier clears the air: ‘I still believe Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest heavyweight of all-time’

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Daniel Cormier Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Daniel Cormier stirred up the ire of some MMA fans last week by suggesting that back in 2009 when it looked as is Fedor Emelianenko would finally sign with the UFC, “The Last Emperor” would not have fared all that well. But with some fans having taken that statement as Cormier denigrating the name of a legend in the sport on his new Debate DC show, the former UFC two-division champion wants to clear the air.

“Guys, let’s just put this out there. I absolutely love Fedor,” Cormier said on his personal YouTube channel. “Let’s not make it anything that it isn’t. Earlier in the week I had this conversation on my show Debate DC.... We had a conversation about whether or not Fedor could rule the UFC in the way that he did in Pride (and) all of the other organizations that he fought in prior. I said no, but I was very specific in the timeframe. I didn’t say that 2005, 2004, 2004, 2006 Fedor couldn’t - 2007, 2008. I didn’t say that. I said in a window of 2009 to 2012, I didn’t think that he would be as good as he had shown to be prior.

“I don’t understand how this ruffled so many people’s feathers. Because it was proven, in that timeframe, that he wasn’t as effective. It’s that simple. I love Fedor. I watch today if he fights, and I root for him every single time. the guy is a wonder of the world. He’s a guy that doesn’t come around very often.”

It’s easy to see why Cormier is confused that his statement bothered so many people, because Emelianenko ended up going on a three-fight losing streak not long after passing up the chance to sign with the UFC, including a loss to middleweight competitor Dan Henderson in 2011. But, Cormier says, just because Emelianenko lost in the back half of his career doesn’t take away from everything he accomplished before then. It simply means he wouldn’t have been a dominant force in the UFC at the time he was losing in Strikeforce.

“With all that being said, I still believe Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest heavyweight of all time,” Cormier said. “I love Stipe. Stipe is the best UFC heavyweight of all time, but the wins Fedor had in Pride, over the likes of Nogueira and all those guys, Arlovski, hats off to you, bud. I don’t mind that. I like Fedor. The fact that he’s still fighting at 45 and knocking dudes out like he did Tim Johnson, hats off to the GOAT. I have no issues with the man. I’m talking about a specific window in which I don’t believe that he would be as effective as he was in the years earlier....

“Does that mean everything he did in the past is not as valuable? Hell no. I actually hate the way people are judged, because when Anderson Silva was the man, everybody called him the GOAT, but when he turns 41, 42 and he’s losing fights, now all of a sudden Anderson’s not the GOAT? We’re gonna judge him based on his late career and just devalue all the things he did when he was in his prime? That’s not how it works. We can’t devalue Fedor Emelianenko because of what we saw before.”

Emelianenko’s post-Strikeforce career has been the subject of much debate. At 45 years old, Fedor continues to fight on in Bellator MMA. This past weekend, Emelianenko knocked out former Bellator interim heavyweight title challenger Timothy Johnson in the main event of Bellator Moscow. It was a return to form for Emelianenko and one that Cormier says shows how great Fedor really is.

“Now, what he’s got going on now, that’s inspiring,” Cormier said. “To be 45 years old and knocking out Tim Johnson the way that he did. That is inspiring and that’s why Fedor Emelianenko is the man.... I look up to him. I really tried to learn from his approach and how he went at people. Being a smaller guy and beating people the way that he did. So this is just to clear the air. I don’t hate Fedor. I think he’s the best. I just think that in a small window when it was really coming to pass, he wouldn’t have been the best. But hats off to the man. Congratulations on the victory and I’m excited to see him fight again.”


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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


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