Like the rest of you I read the qoutes from the recent interview Fedor did mentioning he knows he needs to be fighting in the U.S. in order to be considered a top contender again and that he want's to fight in the UFC. Well it got me to thinking about the what if's of his legacy. So much speculation has been made about Fedor Emilanenko’s career. What if he had signed with the UFC? Who could he really beat? Was he past his prime? Was he ever really that good to begin with? That last question is one that has always bothered me. The fact is he was and is one of the best heavyweights in the sport of MMA period. With a loss or two we so easily write fighters off and that’s what everyone did with Fedor or at least a huge percentage of MMA fans did.
The loss to Werdum was avoidable but he decided to stick in one of if not the world’s best heavyweight grappler’s guard and he paid the price. The loss to Bigfoot was well played by Silva using his size as a weapon against a smaller opponent smothering him with no chance of Fedor mounting any offense. The loss to Dan Henderson was no fluke and could happen to anyone on any given day. Henderson packs megaton force in his right hand with the ability to knock out any fighter in any weight class if it lands. But what I really want to look at is what could have been if the deal with the UFC was closed and he stepped into the octagon.
He most likely would have been scheduled to fight Brock Lesnar at UFC 106 in NOV 09 but that would have been postponed due to the beginning of Lesnar’s battle with diverticulitis. The end result would have seen Emelianenko instead of Frank Mir in the interim championship bout against Shane Carwin at UFC 111. Fedor’s speed and experience would have been too much for Carwin with Fedor winning the fight by submission in the first or early in the second round.
The Carwin win would have seen Fedor crowned interim champ and set up a much anticipated bout versus Lesanr at UFC 120 during the fourth of July weekend 2010 in Las Vegas. This would have easily been the highest grossing MMA fight in the history of the sport, the PPV numbers would have broke the 2 million buys mark easily surpassing the 1.6 million buys from UFC 100 the previous year. As far as the bout itself would have been concerned I have no doubt at all this fight would have gone exactly as Fedor vs. Sylvia did at the inaugural Affliction event. Fedor would have broke Lesnar on his feet and grabbed a quick TKO or submission as he was covered up avoiding the punches crowning Fedor the new undisputed UFC heavyweight champion. I honestly don’t think this fight would have made it past the 60 second mark.
From this point on I can’t really pinpoint who exactly his next fight would have been against due to the fact that Fedor entering the UFC would have altered the path of what actually went down within the heavyweight ranks of the UFC. I can say it would have been 1 of 3 opponents based on who was close to the top at the time. So here’s a look at all three of the fights that could have been.
FRANK MIR – Mir could have posed a huge threat on the ground just as Werdum did. But I think the difference in a fight with Mir would have been the fact that Mir would have tried to stand up and strike with Fedor instead of doing the smart thing trying to get the fight to the ground and turning it into a grappling match which would give him a very real chance at winning. I think we would have seen Fedor winning with a KO or TKO of Frank Mir.
CAIN VELASQUEZ – This would have been the fight that produced the highest probability of Fedor’s first legitimate loss. Velasquez’s wrestling would have been the key to a victory for him. I feel he’s good enough to hold his own in a striking match with Fedor. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Cain is going to out strike Fedor but he’s competent enough on his feet to handle his own. And in the case he got hurt he could revert to his wrestling like he did against Congo. I can’t give a definitive answer as to what the outcome of this fight would have been but I know this would have been a great fight that could have gone either way.
JUNIOR DOS SANTOS – I’m going to catch so much heat for this but I fell as if this is a bad match up for Dos Santos and a fight he loses 9 out of 10 times. Now don’t take this as me saying Dos Santos isn’t a great fighter but as far as styles are concerned he wouldn’t present huge problems for Fedor. He’s an excellent boxer with huge punching power but the opponents that have always given Emelianenko trouble have been predominantly wrestlers and grapplers. He has for the most part been able to out strike his opponents on the feet with the exception of a few well placed punches that very rarely put him in harm’s way. I think this fight is won by Fedor with a trip or throw and an arm bar latched on during Dos Santos scramble back to his feet or a unanimous decision for Emelianenko. Dos Santos only real chance at a win would be well placed punch or combo resulting in a Knockout for him.
At the end of the day this is all speculation and we will probably never see Emelianenko fight within the UFC before he retires. But we can speculate on what could have been!