And a last rant from old-fart me.
So here we are. Two decades after Fedor stormed Pride in the 2000s. Some years of dreading each new Fedor fight, sometimes feeling relief that even post-Tim Sylvia-Fedor -- you know, the bumrush "it's god's will" version that seemed to be a mockery of the crafty all-round new-tricks-each-fight Fedor of the 2000s -- could defeat another former UFC champion from his era. Hopefully "at least solid kickboxing" Fedor turns up for his final fight -- I have completely given up hope of ever seeing him Sambo-throwing someone again.
So, a short rundown: Unlike the UFC wrestlefuckers, all-night-feinters and evasion-above-all specialists, Fedor gave us 20 years of exciting, edge-of-the-seat fights -- first 10 years of glory, then 10 years of... more mixed feelings. Hot damn, I miss the Pride rule set. And the pivotal Nog and Crocop fights, the pinnacle of MMA for me. Beating the best grappler of that generation on the ground. Then beating the best striker of that generation on the feet. Suck it, Cain, JDS and Werdum -- that's something you will never have.
Also nice seeing Fighting and Mania subtly shit on him as always -- "Fedor admits he is not the GOAT" is a rather uncharitable take on, and I quote from memory "I know that many want to say I am the best, but this is really not how I consider myself", that being the quote that made me not only a Fedor-the-fighter but Fedor-the-person fan. And using the DFW-framing in the whole "oh was it a loss he wasnt in the UFC" articles. Fuck the UFC -- if Fedor went there, Cain the supreme wall-and-staller would have wall-fucked him for 5 rounds, linear-fencing JDS would have been interesting, and Werdum well we saw how that ended.
Which is to says doped-to-the-gills Werdum. For a long time I thought of the three fights that started Fedor's downfall, "well Bigfoot is on TRT so high his abs have abs, but at least he has pituary gland problems so it is kinda legitimate", and "Hendo is on TRT to a Vitor degree but hey he is the first opponent in forever to be actually Fedor's size", but I got surprised that Werdum was also on the juice. So the three downfall-era guys all full-on superdoped -- all the while Fedor rather little-to-medium-doped (or not at all -- strange things are in the heads of "it's god's will" people). But fuck it, nobody wants to hear it, so I will shut the fuck up. Truth be told, bumrush Fedor fucked it up all by himself. Time to remember how his trainer said after Arlovski "this time we won with our old bag of tricks, but if we want to continue on a high level this is not enough", while Fedor filmed the fucking "5th column" movie instead of devising new tricks and stratagems.
Where was I going? Ah yes, rant. It is kinda strange having so many detailed memories. The dive into Nog's guard, the headkick to pushback against Crocop, but also the strange moment where Hunt just didnt knee him in the head while Fedor was standing up -- I mean wtf, Hunt was a HW kickboxer who could check low kicks, how does a guy like that forget to knee? The kinda hapless armbar against Choi where all the Sambo throws failed in the face of twice the size. The Randleman suplex, my fucking god. Looking kinda helpless against Arlovski for the first minute before the bait and overhand in-the-air KO. The not-accounting-for-the-wall-error against Werdum -- remember how he thought he can side-walk out of the armbar, only to discover the cage wall was in the way? Fedor still cant do cages, the guy was made for the ring. Or adapted himself so much to the ring that no brainspace was left for the cage. And most of all the "now I believe I can outbox anyone" moment of impeding doom after the Sylvia fight. Fuck hubris, it comes for everyone, even a somewhat humble guy like Fedor. And the Rampage fatfest, that was pure Dadaism. And Fujita, when he was still the Ironhead. Fun times. Beating Coleman, Sylvia, Arlovski and Mir in the US was all good but not ever as good as Pride.
The Maldonaldo dance while the (russian) commentators said "I cant believe they let it continue", the guys kept it real. The Mitrione almost-double-KO was comedy gold though somewhat sad. Bader also over too quick and therefore kinda sad too.
Hope Fedor got one last exciting fight in him, drama, technique, suprises and all. And a nice celebrating-a-career party afterwards, and a happily-ever-after (yeah, right...). Thanks for the inspiration and the memories, Fjodor Yemilyanenko.
My apologies for the stream-of-consciousness thing -- sorting thoughts isnt for old ppl. Hope you saw a new wrinkle or cracked a little smile. And with that, old man over and out.