Russian Sambo fighter Fedor Emelianenko absorbed his second straight loss in seven months in a Strikeforce mixed martial arts event at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Saturday. It may not sound unusual for a casual MMA fan but it seems surprising for what many perceived to be the greatest heavyweight mixed martial arts fighter in the world.
Fedor’s loss to via triangle choke to former UFC heavyweight fighter Fabricio Werdum was thought to be a fluke. However, his latest second round technical knockout loss to unheralded Strikeforce heavyweight Antonio Silva could indicate that age has finally caught up with him. In his post-fight interview, Emelianenko indicated that it could be his time to retire and leave the game.
That myth of invincibility has been shattered. After a ten-year winning streak, Fedor has suffered two upset losses that hint at his decline as a fighter. UFC president Dana White had a field day bashing the former Pride FC heavyweight champion, blaming his managers for such misfortune.
The truth is that Fedor never evolved through the years as a fighter. Certain quarters question the quality of his opponents in the past to explain how he managed to stay unbeaten for ten years. He has fought former champions in the past but more fighters come out with better conditioning, athleticism and all-around fighting skills everyday.
While Fedor aged and stagnated as a fighter, more heavyweight fighters have evolved into more complete fighters. Yes, Emelianenko may be the best fighter of his time but the time comes when one has to accept when a new generation of fighters could be ready to take his place soon.