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Fight Archives: Soccer kicks, ref cams, and the ‘GOAT’

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A look back on one of the most notable performances of an all-time great.

Fedor GOAT

Georges St-Pierre recently went on record to dispute the existence of a “Greatest of All-Time” in mixed martial arts. “It’s just a fugazi, it doesn’t exist,” said the two-division UFC champion, who himself is a strong candidate to be part of the conversation.

But a few years ago, “GSP” did have an answer to the long-standing “GOAT” question.

Back in his best years, Fedor Emelianenko was revered by fans and feared by opponents, and for good reason. Just by looking at his stellar run in PRIDE will instantly remind you about the force of nature that “The Last Emperor” was.

August 10, 2003, Saitama, Japan. PRIDE: Total Elimination.

The 27-year-old Fedor was already making his mark in the Far East, having defeated the likes of Semmy Schilt, Ricardo Arona, and “Big Nog” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The next name on his hit list at the time was K-1 product, Gary Goodridge.

Right off the bat, the Sambo Grand Master pressed the action. As Goodridge shelled up in hesitation, Fedor only threw one bomb after the other.

Goodridge did get a bit of a respite from the onslaught when he kept close guard and an overhook. But not for long. Fedor eventually freed his right arm out and picked up from where he left off.

A few guard passes and soccer kicks later, the referee finally intervened to save Goodridge from further damage and humiliation.

The ever-subjective “GOAT” discussion will always vary from one era to another. But if the MMA world is looking for an answer now, we’ve got a good one right here.