Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor Emelianenko: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Fedor Emelianenko had not lost since December 2000, and that defeat wasn’t considered a “real” one by some. The Russian’s submission Saturday to Fabricio Werdum was undeniable, though.
In this article, Tito Ortiz, Pat Miletich, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and others offer their views on Werdum’s win and Fedor’s loss.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: It was a great victory for Brazilian jiu-jitsu. As a great representative of jiu-jitsu, Werdum showed the power of sport. Fedor was the favorite, but Werdum has shown that against Brazilian jiu-jitsu, favorites before the fight don’t matter. He gave a show.
Greg Nelson: Fedor is a great fighter and has been one of the most successful fighters in recent history. Everyone can get caught, especially if you fight at the higher levels. He hurt Werdum early, went in for the kill and got over aggressive and got caught in a tight triangle. People who like Fedor will always like him. Those who don’t will say, “See? He’s been exposed.” Therefore, everyone has been exposed.
Marco Ruas: Two days before the fight, I gave a statement to Portal do Vale Tudo saying that Werdum would beat Fedor. Werdum is explosive, improved a lot on his standup skills and has one of the best ground techniques in the MMA world. So I truly believed it would happen.
Shane Carwin (from Twitter): That is what MMA is all about. Expect the unexpected.
Tito Ortiz: Fedor finally fought somebody on a great level, and it just showed the mistakes that Fedor makes on the ground. Werdum is somebody that I actually know, and I did an interview in Dallas for ESPN Radio and I called it. I knew he was going to beat him. I just felt that once Fedor fought someone with great talent, he would finally get his loss. You can’t believe the hype, as they say.
Has he ever been tested? Maybe once or twice? You can’t say you’re the best in the world if you haven’t competed against everybody in the world, and he hasn’t. And I think by him not coming to the UFC put a big (stain) on his record. You can have a company back you and say you’re the best guy in the world, but until you compete against the best guys in the world, you’re not that guy. There’s a lot more things going on behind the scenes, and it’s not just Fedor making those decisions. Fedor is fighting for his country. But it is what it is, and it just proves that he’s not invincible and that he’s not one of the top heavyweights in the world. I think he’s a decent fighter overall, but I was very proud of Werdum, though. That’s what comes with hard work.
I didn’t think he’d submit him that quickly, but once Fedor gets on top of you, he gets kind of messy and (throws) looping punches, and a lot of triangles and arm locks come into position. Werdum’s a big guy and he’s got some great triangles. When I rolled with him, he got me in a triangle, too. He’s a big guy who moves well and his jiu-jitsu game just shows how good he really is. He’s a former Abu Dhabi submission champ.
(Fedor’s wins over “Cro Cop” and Nogueira) were a long time ago. That was when he was in his prime, I guess you can say. He hasn’t fought anybody on the UFC’s level, and the best guys are in the UFC. Werdum was in the UFC. They let him go, and he signed with Strikeforce and I think it’s kind of bad, you know, because Werdum is still a young guy who’s coming up and still getting better and better by the month.
Johnny Eduardo: I found it amazing. I really liked the fight. Even after taking the knockdown, Werdum sought the submission, fell into a good position and got the win. It was sensational.
Kenny Florian (from Twitter): Fedor is all class & will be back. He is an amazing athlete. He needs to update his training. If he does this, he will be back on top. Fedor is still the greatest heavyweight of all time, but the sport is so new & changing so fast. So easy to get left behind in MMA. No such thing as "just got caught." It was a technical error. He didn't slip & fall into the triangle. Got caught (twice).
Ricardo Liborio: (Werdum’s win) was a great display of the efficiency of jiu-jitsu but also of how unpredictable MMA is. Werdum is the man.
Thales Leites: I was too happy, very excited. Werdum is a very good person, hard working and he deserved this victory. After he lost to Junior dos Santos, a lot of people thought that this was his end because he left the UFC, but he came back better than ever. Not many people believed, but he gave a show and submitted Fedor. Congratulations to him!
Pedro Rizzo: It was a great victory. Werdum was very motivated and had had an excellent fight against Antonio Silva. I expected his victory, but not so fast. This victory was good also because it stirred up the heavyweight rankings, and it has been very important for Brazil.
Cristiano Marcello: I was very happy. I admire Werdum as a person because I worked with him. He was not the favorite, but I knew that the path to victory was jiu-jitsu. He has history in jiu-jitsu and is a great grappler. All the numbers favored Fedor, but Werdum proved that mathematics do not win the fight. He showed superiority with his ground game, was offensive and deserved the victory. Everyone on my team watched the fight together and was rooting for him.
Pat Miletich: I watched in amazement as Fedor was submitted by Fabricio Werdum. My heart sank not for Fedor but for the reality of perfection that is not attainable in the sport of MMA. All experienced fighters know you’re going to lose if you’re fighting world-class opponents, but Fedor was different.
I remember when he came on the scene in the Rings organization. My fighters and I were competing there during the dark years of the UFC. Nobody even noticed Fedor at first, but that soon changed. He was wrecking name fighters standing up and on the ground. I found it puzzling how this guy, short and average looking, was able to beat guys like Ricardo Arona.
We all know what followed, as Fedor would go on to mow through great fighters in their prime in the Pride organization.
Today on all the forums, Twitter and Facebook, people are saying they knew he wasn't the best fighter in the world. Really? All I can say is, he wasn't (Saturday) night.
Fabricio Werdum was insistent in his interview that Fedor is the best in the world. I respect Fabricio for saying this. This shows true class from a true world-class fighter, and Werdum is a true fighter. What Fedor said was something only a man like he could say. Fedor said, "A man that does not fall, does not stand up.”
I just wonder who out of all those who are so critical of this man will stand in front of him when he stands back up?
Mike Sloan, Gleidson Venga and Marcelo Alonso contributed reporting to this story.