Friday, December 2, 2022

Cormier On Backlash To Fedor Comments: Don’t Make It Anything It Isn’t

Former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier has responded to the backlash he’s received following the comments he made about Fedor Emelianenko ahead of Bellator 269.

Cormier caused controversy ahead of Emelianenko’s first fight since 2019 this past weekend. During his new Debate DC show on Vover, the color commentator discussed how “The Last Emperor” would have fared against the likes of Junior dos Santos, Brock Lesnar, and Cain Velasquez in the UFC.

Assessing the period between the years 2009 and 2012, “DC” suggested the Russian would have been “average at best” on MMA’s biggest stage, and would have been only managed to reach the division’s top-five or top-seven.

Fedor had been linked with the UFC in 2009. After a signing with the Dana White-led promotion failed to come to fruition, the heavyweight great continued fighting under the banner of Strikeforce, before transitioning to M-1 Global, and now Bellator MMA.

Given Emelianenko’s fanbase and status as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, it’s no surprise that Cormier’s comments weren’t taken well by many in the MMA community, especially considering his suggestion that Fedor’s prior opposition wouldn’t have prepared him for fights against the UFC’s best.

Cormier has now responded to the backlash he’s received across the past few days. In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion defended his comments, reiterating that he’d only discussed a specific time period that came after Fedor’s prime years.

“Guys, let’s just put this out there. I absolutely love Fedor. 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 he fought in prior. I said no, but I was very specific in the timeframe. I didn’t say that 2005, four, three, six Fedor couldn’t… I didn’t say that. I said in a window of nine to 12, 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.”

Further explaining how he formed the opinion that bothered so many, Cormier suggested a combination of Fedor’s decreasing speed and the increasing all-round nature of the UFC’s heavyweight fighters meant the Russian legend would have struggled. He did, however, clarify that he sees “The Last Emperor” as the greatest heavyweight of all time.

“I pointed to the hand speed starting to slow down at that time (2009 onwards), and just guys becoming much more well-rounded. With all that being said, I still believe Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest heavyweight of all time… I have no issues with the man. I’m talking about a specific window in which I don’t believe, in my opinion, that he would be as effective as he was in the years earlier.”

It’s likely that Fedor’s return this past weekend only added to the negative response Cormier received for the opinion he expressed. Having not fought since a 2019 TKO victory over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Fedor had his 47th fight at Bellator 269 on Saturday.

Fighting in his home country under the promotional banner of Bellator for the first time, Fedor came up against #2-ranked heavyweight Tim Johnson. After just under two minutes of the opening round, the 45-year-old slept Johnson with a brutal combination. Despite talk of a possible retirement heading into his latest outing, it seems unlikely we’ve seen the last of the great Fedor.

Do you agree with Daniel Cormier’s take on how Fedor Emelianenko would have fared in the UFC between 2009 and 2012?