Let me start this off by saying I AM a Fedor nut hugger.
But I have always been open about criticism towards his career, his legacy, his GOAT comments.
After watching this interview: Mauro Ranallo with Dana White | Video | theScore
and listening to some of the things Dana had to say, I really wanted to go back and look at the career of The Last Emperor & really see if he lives/lived up to the hype.
I'm gonna try to make it quick and painless.
So I'll start with this.........
The "And Who Are You?" List of opponents:
1. Martin Lazarov,
2. Levon Lagvilava,
3. Hiroya Takada,
4. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka x2,
5. Mihail Apostolov,
6. Ryushi Yanagisawa,
7. Lee Hasdell,
8. Chris Haseman,
9. Egidijus Valavicius,
10. Yuji Nagata,
11. Naoya Ogawa,
12. Wagner da Conceicao Martins.
The "Hey You Were/Are Someone People Pay Attention To" List of opponents:
1. Ricardo Arona,
2. Kerry Schall,
3. Renato Sobral,
4. Semmy Schilt,
5. Heath Herring,
6. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira x3,
7. Kazuyuki Fujita,
8. Gary Goodridge,
9. Mark Coleman x2,
10. Kevin Randleman,
11. Mirko Filipovic,
12. Mark Hunt,
13. Matt Lindland,
14. Hong Man Choi,
15. Tim Sylvia,
16. Andrei Arlovski,
17. Brett Rogers,
18. Fabricio Werdum,
19. Antonio Silva,
20. Dan Henderson.
Now time to dissect the Worthy Opponents:
In the 1.5 years that Fedor fought before going to PRIDE he fought 11 people & only 2 of them went on to do anything worthy in MMA.
1. Ricardo Arona(a Light Heavyweight) - When they fought Ricardo was 2-0 & Fedor was 3-0.
2. Renato Sobral(usually a Light Heavyweight) - When they fought Renato was 21-2 & Fedor was 7-0(I don't count that Cut to Kohsaka as a lose).
Once arriving at Pride he fought(in this order):
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira,
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira,
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira,
That was from 2002-2006.
It's a really good progression of Talented Fighters and a fucking Impressive List of WINS.
Although some of those guys aren't really worth a shit now, they were fucking Beasts back then!
Anyone should be proud to have all of those Wins on their record.
At this time FEDOR WAS UNTOUCHABLE! He Could Destroy Worlds!!!
Then "The Legacy" gets tarnished........
Around the time he was done whooping ass in Pride was pretty much the end of Sylvia/Arlovski trilogy. And Randy Couture was getting ready to step back into the UFC to show Big Timmay who the boss was.
UFC needed Fedor at this time(and I'm sure this was one of the times that Dana & M-1 had some negotiating?) and if Fedor was psychic he would have known that He needed the UFC too.
He could have gone on to do amazing things, but instead he did this:
Matt Lindland(a fucking Middleweight for godsake) - beaten in 3 minutes.
Hong Man Choi - With a huge record of 1-0 before fighting Fedor.
Can't forget that the fight he had before Fedor lasted a whole 16 Seconds. LOTS OF EXPERIENCE!!!
Fedor beats him in 2 minutes.
Fedor or His Management pull their head out:
Tim Sylvia - Timmay was still relevant at this point. He didn't make himself look like a fool yet.
So it was good to see Fedor fight someone worthy again.
Fedor beats him in 36 seconds(LIKE A BOSS!)
Now Fedor starts Slipping:
Andrei Arlovski - 15-5 at this point. No longer in the UFC but still fighting people with names(although some weren't as big as his).
Fedor was getting outclassed in this fight. Andrei was just too fast for him & then Andrei got cocky & Fedor made him pay for it 3 minutes & 14 seconds into the fight.
But a chink was in the armor of Fedor after that fight.
Brett Rogers - 10-0 before fighting Fedor. With his most notable win over the man Fedor just knocked down from the sky, Andrei Arlovski.
I was never on the Brett Rogers hype train. Too many cans to be fighting someone like Fedor.
But then he goes on to laying a Whooping on Fedor for the 1st round.
I was Impressed. But eventually Fedor would win... "Fedor always wins."
And he did. But there was now even a bigger chink in his armor. And people were starting to notice.
Fabricio Werdum - even with 3 losses to his name now I think Fedor would win this rematch 8 times out of 10.
He go cocky and got in the guard of one the best Heavyweight Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist out there.
Antonio Silva - 15-2 record at the time, with only 4 notable wins to his name.
At this time(2/12/2011) Fedor shouldn't have been fighting someone with 4 notable wins to his name(one of those names in a Lower weight class).
He should have been fighting someone with a 15-2 record that had 10 notable names to his record, like Frank Mir, or at least someone like a Cheick Kongo, Gabriel Gonzaga, or a Ben Rothwell.
But Fedor goes on to fight a "lesser" opponent & SEVERELY gets his ass handed to him. It was Bad!!!
Finally a Lose that No One can say "well he didn't really lose that fight."
So what does one do that has lost 2 fights in a row from people he "should have won against" ?
You fight someone in a lighter weight class.
Dan Henderson - is a fucking beast, no matter how you cut it.
27-8 record before the fight with Fedor. His loses all came from badass dudes that have made their mark in MMA.
He combined all that he saw in Fedor's last 4 fights and brought that into this fight and won.
Although I think it was called about 5 seconds before it should have been called, Hendo probably would have gone on to beat on Fedor some more and win.
So with everything said and done:
Fedor fought 9 Cans EARLY in his career(sounds like Most fighters).
Also fought 2 good fighters, but they were in Lower weight classes.
Then went on to fight 11 fighters that were pretty much on par with him for 4 years & Dominate! But he also fought 5 other Cans in that time frame too.
Once PRIDE ends he fights 2 people "not worthy", 2 people on their downward spiral(which he started off for them), an Up And Comer, and then 3 Loses.
The way I look at it Fedor has:
13 REMARKABLE Wins.
18 Worthless/Whatever Wins.
2 No Contests(the Cut from Kohsaka I consider a NC).
Is a 13-3 Record bad? NO.
Is a 17-3 Record bad? NO.(added Lindland, Arona, Sobral, & Rogers to it).
Is Fedor gonna go down in History as one of the greatest MMA Fighters of All Time? Probably Not..
Especially when you look at records like Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, Frank Mir, Anderson Silva, Tito Ortiz, Quinton Jackson, & Rich Franklin.