Ariel Helwani reacts to fan comparing Denver Nuggets MVP Nikola Jokic to MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko

Is Nikola Jokic the Fedor Emelianenko of NBA?
Is Nikola Jokic the Fedor Emelianenko of NBA?

Nikola Jokic was declared the NBA Finals MVP as the Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat to secure their first title at the Ball Arena on Monday night.

Jokic did not lose composure in the least bit, calmly handshaking every Heat player before celebrating modestly with family and teammates. The two-time NBA MVP and 2023 Finals MVP told ESPN's Lisa Slater soon after the Game 5 win:

“It’s good. The job is done, we can go home now”

Ariel Helwani tweeted Jokic's comments, prompting a fan to compare the Serbian to MMA GOAT contender Fedor Emelianenko.

The fan wrote on Twitter:

"The Fedor Emelianenko of NBA"

Finding the comparison reasonable, Helwani wrote:

"Not a bad shout"

Standing six-foot tall, Emelianenko didn't have the most menacing physique or demeanour for the heavyweight division during the PRIDE era. However, 'The Last Emperor' brought with him one of the most well-rounded MMA arsenals ever seen at the time.

Emelianenko barely smiled while walking through the entire PRIDE roster during the 2000s, leaving behind the likes of Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt, Antonio Nogueira, and Mark Coleman in his wake. The 46-year-old hung up his gloves after a first-round TKO loss to Bellator heavyweight champ Ryan Bader earlier this year, bidding adieu to the sport with a stellar 40-7 record.


Watch: Nikola Jokic's brother knocks out opponent in Muay Thai

Nikola Jokic shares a close relationship with his brothers, who were recently seen tossing Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone after the Nuggets' inaugural NBA title win. While Jokic and his eldest brother Strahinja are ballers, the middle sibling Nemanja is an MMA fighter.

While the second eldest Jokic brother hasn't been active recently, he holds a perfect 3-0 MMA record with all of his wins coming via knockout. He has also competed in amateur Muay Thai, making his debut against William Vandervier at the SCL: Army vs. Marines 10 event in 2021. Jokic thoroughly dominated his opponent, scoring multiple knockdowns en route to a first-round stoppage win.

Watch the full fight below:

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Edited by C. Naik
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