Although he has never fought in the UFC, former Pride champion Fedor Emelianenko is widely considered to be amongst the best heavyweights of all-time.
His run between 2001 and 2010, which consisted of no losses, was unprecedented and will be remembered forever, but “The Last Emperor” hit a rough patch when he made the jump over to Strikeforce, as he lost three consecutive bouts to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson, with all three losses coming by way of stoppage. He then bounced back with three victories in Japan and Russia before announcing his retirement in 2012.
After a three year hiatus, however, the Russian made his return to action in 2015, scoring a stoppage victory over a relative unknown in Jaideep Singh at a Rizin event. He followed that up with an extremely controversial decision victory over Fabio Maldonado last June in a bout in which he was badly hurt in the first round.
“The Last Emperor” was recently set to fight Matt Mitrione in the main event of Bellator 172 this past weekend, but the bout was scrapped just hours prior when Mitrione fell ill.
Although his star power is still strong, many feel as if Emelianenko isn’t the fighter he once was, and it would’ve been completely understandable for him to stay retired after leaving the sport in 2012.