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Fedor Emelianenko: ‘I never considered myself to be the best’ fighter of all time

The legendary Fedor Emelianenko is seen by many as the greatest MMA fighter of all time, but he doesn’t see himself that way.

Pride Grand Prix 2005 - Final Round - Match - August 28, 2005 Photo by Tomokazu Tazawa/Getty Images

Did you know that Fedor Emelianenko is fighting in Madison Square Garden this Saturday? Well he is, and the legendary heavyweight has been doing some media to promote his co-main event fight with Matt Mitrione. Emelianenko was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani earlier this week, and discussed the usual subjects - where he is on the GOAT list, what his favorite fights were (the first bout with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Cro Cop), and why he didn’t sign with the UFC.

First up was the greatest of all time question. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the humble Russian fighter doesn’t think he’s the GOAT (via MMA Fighting):

“I never considered myself to the best one.A fighter can lose at any moment. And there are some fighters that, for example, are defending on some position that will be better than me in some technique.”

The topic eventually turned to the UFC and whether he is satisfied with his career despite not fighting in the Octagon. He said that he has never been particularly close to signing with the UFC despite negotiating with them multiple times, partly because something always “came up” on the UFC’s side. But in the end, it wasn’t about the organization you fought for according to The Last Emperor:

“Well I cannot [relate] myself to the fighters who have very exaggerated and excited reaction hearing the words ‘UFC,’” he said. “For me there was always no difference where to perform, in which organization, whether it be the UFC, or Pride, or Strikeforce, or Bellator, the main thing is who is your opponent.

“And also you’ve got to have that good relationship and preserve that good relationship with people who work in the organization. So the fighter is the fighter, and he deals with a lot of things. He goes through a lot of paths. His load is a huge one.

“I performed against different opponents who were the best fighters of the UFC.”

Emelianenko and Mitrione will throw down at Bellator NYC on June 24th on pay-per-view.