One of the most hotly debated topics in mixed martial arts these days is the identity of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
UFC president Dana White insists it’s middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Others consider either UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn or UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre to be No. 1.
There’s even a small, but growing, faction that favors WEC bantamweight kingpin Miguel Torres.
Then there are the thousands of posters to forums across the Internet, who worship heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko and consider it blasphemy to suggest another fighter is remotely approaching him.
Emelianenko, who won the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts heavyweight title after choking out ex-UFC champion Tim Sylvia in just 36 seconds last month on an Affliction card at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., isn’t sure of the answer.
He’s only certain of one thing: It’s not him.
“I don’t consider myself on top of the pedestal,” said Emelianenko (28-1, 1 no contest), who has largely been unchallenged since his only loss, which came because of a cut caused by an illegal elbow in a 2000 fight with Tsuyoshi Kohsaka.
“I have certain weaknesses and I make certain mistakes. Of course, that is frustrating, because like any athlete, I strive to get better each day. I know a lot of the media and the fans want to say I’m the best. I appreciate that, but that’s not how I consider myself.”
Emelianenko declined to make a selection of the pound-for-pound king. He said he hasn’t seen much of Silva, St. Pierre or Penn. He’s picked out holes in their games, but he concedes he’s impressed by their technical proficiency.
Since 2000, his job has essentially been that of a one-man gang, destroying a roster of the world’s great heavyweights. He’s come under fire, principally from White, for a lackluster list of opponents after beating Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in 2005 until he fought Sylvia.
White said last week he gained new respect for Emelianenko after his win over Sylvia.
“He’s not the best pound-for-pound fighter, not even close, but he’s one of the four or five best heavyweights,” said White, who undoubtedly would be singing Emelianenko’s praises to the heavens the moment he got the stoic Russian’s name on a UFC contract.
“But we all have to thank him for getting rid of Tim Sylvia. He’d been stinking out the joint the last couple of years and Fedor did everyone a favor by beating him so easily and getting rid of him.”
Emelianenko is going to spend more time in the U.S. in the coming months in an attempt to build familiarity with the fans. He was scheduled met Andrei Arlovski on Oct. 11 in Las Vegas, but a chipped bone at the base of his right thumb he got by clubbing Sylvia on the side of the head forced him to pull out of that fight.
Arlovski will fight Josh Barnett instead, with Emelianenko expected to fight the winner in early 2009.
Emelianenko will be ringside at the Thomas & Mack Center to observe, but conceded he’s hardly a rabid fan of the sport. It’s a job, albeit a lucrative one, and he treats it as such. There isn’t a fight that gets his blood pumping enough to make him want to buy a ticket to see it. He’s interested in Arlovski-Barnett simply because it impacts his future.
“This is my job, and to be honest with you, if I didn’t have to work this job, I probably wouldn’t,” he said, chuckling. “It’s how I make my living. It’s even tough to accept this is what I do for the living.”
Emelianenko, though, was stumped when asked what he’d do if he weren’t a fighter. After a lengthy pause, he suggested he’d have become a fight instructor.
It’s good for the world, though, that he has opted to hold off on teaching and still is fighting for a living. He continues to hold hope a bout with Randy Couture, the erstwhile UFC heavyweight champion, can be arranged.
That bout has the potential to be the richest MMA fight ever staged, though Couture’s legal situation with the UFC has it on hold.
Emelianenko said he had both breakfast and dinner with Couture on Monday and is open to a fight whenever and wherever it can be made.
“Randy is a living legend in this sport and it’s an honor that people say they want to see me fight him,” Emelianenko said. “It’s our desire to fight as soon as possible. I don’t like the politics and I hope politics don’t prevent this fight.
“I’m not out to prove anything. I just want to challenge myself against the men people believe is the best in the world. This bout with Randy is one step on that road. It would be my honor and my dream to fight him and we both will do what we can to get into the ring to fight.”
****that's why People in general considered this guy the best Pound for Pound guy in MMA today and the best All time, cause even in his Beliefs he would still own his opponents like Dana "Badass" White and his Douchebags followers*****