As Fedor Emelianenko, now 40, gears up for a headline slot at Madison Square Garden, New York this Saturday (June 24), Fighters Only spoke to four of his victims to find out what it’s like to compete against ‘The Last Emperor’, otherwise known as MMA’s greatest ever heavyweight.
Matt Mitrione, look away now…
Today is the turn of Tim Sylvia, a former UFC heavyweight champion, who attempted what no man had done before at Affliction: Banned and managed to last only 36 seconds in the company of the baddest man on the planet.
Sylvia: “I truly thought I was going to beat him. I really thought I had a chance to knock him out. I actually thought I could have submitted him. He got off before I did. I just had a bad performance. I wish we could do that fight all over again and I could have a good performance to see actually what would have happened. I actually don’t feel like I got beat.
“We could have gone five rounds and he would have beat the ever-loving s**t out of me, you never know. It’s just a fight I’d have liked to have back and have the performance I was capable of. I had a great training camp. I got caught real quick. I trained for that position, but I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I got caught and he capitalized on it. All heavyweights hit hard, but I was surprised by his speed. He was faster than I was expecting.
“All that set aside, I think Fedor is a great guy; we became friends from that fight. He’s a hell of an athlete. He’s very fast, he’s very strong, and he hits hard as hell. It was an honor to get in the ring with him. I can honestly say he’s the best all-time heavyweight. Randy (Couture) was a great heavyweight champion but he didn’t have that knockout power Fedor did. Or the speed. Randy was a grinder. Dan Severn was pretty impressive but he wasn’t a finisher when it came to his punches. Mark Coleman was the master of ground ‘n’ pound – same as Kevin Randleman – but I think Fedor is one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world.”
*** The full ‘Fighting Fedor’ feature can be read in the July 2017 Fedor icon issue of Fighters Only magazine, OUT NOW ***