Fedor Emelianenko is regarded by many as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. But is he on the wrong side of history?
The man they call “The Last Emperor” enjoyed an undefeated run of 28 fights from 2001 to 2009, mainly in the PRIDE FC promotion at the peak of Japanese MMA’s popularity. He struggled in later years and retired in 2012 with a 34-4 record,with one no contest, and a legacy complete.
He’s known for a calm and humble demeanor, offering a air of class to what can be a brutal sport.
But the legend turned heads, and left many surprised, when he gave his opinion on women’s MMA recently, for Whoa TV.
“MMA is for men,” Fedor calmly replied when asked about the rising popularity of women in MMA. “It’s a man’s sport.”
Tomorrow night, Carla Esparza defends the UFC Women’s Strawweight Title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 185 in Dallas, TX. Both competitors offered their response to Fedor’s comments at a press event.
“I like him so much and he’s a living legend,” Jedrzejczyk (pictured above) said, as quoted by Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting. “But I think we can do a pretty good job, you know? I think it’s not right. We can fight good, we can bring the audience and we can make the show better. That’s all.”
Esparza agreed, noting the recent success of Ronda Rousey as a UFC headliner.
“We’re legit and we’re here to stay,” she boasted. “Nothing is going to stop this momentum that’s been going with the women.”