If you’ve ever participated in a ‘greatest heavyweight ever’ debate, then chances are Emelianenko’s name was mentioned. After all, Emelianenko fought professionally for over a decade before he incurred his first, real defeat (his first loss was due to a cut). In addition, although Emelianenko lost three straight while competing for Strikeforce, he holds wins over numerous stars, and for sometime, was considered by many as the greatest ever.
Well, recently Overeem was asked to weigh-in on whether “The Last Emperor” is the best heavyweight of all times, and “The Reem” reportedly said no (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“He’s a friend of mine,” Overeem said. “I like him as a person. I never had anything negative with him, even when we were supposed to fight and he declined. But at the time that he could test himself — and he had several occasions — he turned down the UFC. And the UFC is where the competition is at. He declined to do that.”
Overeem isn’t the only person to make this argument. The decorated fighter went on to say that Fedor “messed it up” by signing with Strikeforce, and then more recently, by fighting Fabio Maldonado. Fedor defeated the latter by decision, but Maldonado had him badly hurt early on, and the bout could have easily been stopped.
Overeem, meanwhile, is scheduled to fight champion Stipe Miocic next Saturday at UFC 203.