Former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier has issued a statement after he was heavily criticised for his recent comments on Fedor Emelianenko.
Emelianenko made his return to the cage after a two-year layoff at Bellator 269, where he knocked out Tim Johnson in the first round. In his illustrious career, ‘The Last Emperor’ has fought in some of the world’s leading MMA promotions, but never in the UFC, which makes many fans wonder how he would have fared in the world’s premier MMA organisation.
‘Average At Best’
Speaking on his ‘Debate DC’ show, Cormier said that Emelianenko would have been ‘average at best’ in the UFC.
“I think he beats Brock Lesnar. But outside of that, I don’t think Fedor competes very well in the UFC,” Cormier said. “I think that, honestly, Fedor not going to the UFC allowed for the intrigue to stay, but the reality of the situation is he would not have done well against those guys like JDS (Junior dos Santos), he wasn’t beating Cain Velasquez, he would have struggled with guys like Cheick Kongo. He was not beating those guys that were at the top of the UFC at that time. I’m certain of it. I know you’re gonna say, ‘Well he beat this guy, he beat [Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira and he beat Frank Mir.’ For as great as he is, he would have been, at that time in the sport, average at best. I’m telling you. Fedor Emelianenko in the UFC between 2009-11, average at best.”
Cormier Responds To Criticism
Cormier was heavily criticised by many in the MMA community for ‘disrespecting’ Emelianenko, who is widely considered the greatest heavyweight of all time.
Speaking on his YouTube channel (as transcribed by BJPenn.com), Cormier said that his comments were taken out of context as he only talked about a specific time period, in which the Russian would have failed to garner much success in the UFC.
“Guys, let’s just put this out there. I absolutely love Fedor,” Cormier clarified. “Let’s not make it anything that it isn’t. Earlier in the week, I had this conversation on my show Debate DC… We had a conversation about whether or not Fedor could rule the UFC in the way that he did in PRIDE [and] all of the other organisations he fought in prior. I said no, but I was very specific in the timeframe. I didn’t say that 2005, four, three, six Fedor couldn’t… I didn’t say that. I said in a window of nine to 12, I didn’t think that he would be as good as he had shown to be prior.
“I don’t understand how this ruffled so many people’s feathers. Because it was proven, in that timeframe, that he wasn’t as effective. It’s that simple. I love Fedor. I watch today if he fights, and I root for him every single time. the guy is a wonder of the world. He’s a guy that doesn’t come around very often.”
Do you agree with Daniel Cormier?