Fedor Emelianenko ruled over the heavyweight division for the better part of a decade. | Photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
“The Last Emperor”
The stoic Russian developed an aura to which few in the sport have ever come close. Effectively undefeated -- his only loss in a 10-year-span was a controversial doctor stoppage against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka -- for the vast majority of his career, Emelianenko dominated Pride Fighting Championships’ heavyweight division at a time when it was the sport’s best. He beat Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Filipovic when they were at their peaks and brought his star to America with spectacular finishes of Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski inside Affliction. His submission loss to Fabricio Werdum, which ended his long unbeaten streak, was one of MMA’s most shocking upsets. Emelianenko handled it with typical class and noted, “The one who doesn’t fall, doesn’t stand up.” That humility never left him, even after all his success.
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