Is Fedor Emelianenko the MMA heavyweight GOAT? Former rival Gary Goodridge weighs in (Exclusive)

Gary Goodridge (left), Fedor Emelianenko (right) [Images courtesy of @garygoodbridge on Instagram & @BellatorMMA on Twitter]
Gary Goodridge (left), Fedor Emelianenko (right) [Images courtesy of @garygoodbridge on Instagram & @BellatorMMA on Twitter]

MMA veteran Gary Goodridge believes Fedor Emelianenko should be considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all time despite the talented Russian never testing himself in the UFC.

Emelianenko called time on his MMA career earlier this year at Bellator 290. 'The Last Emperor' faced Ryan Bader for the Bellator heavyweight title, but was denied a swansong ending when he was knocked out in the first round.

The 46-year-old hung up his gloves with a 40-7 professional record, competing in multiple promotions such as Bellator, Strikeforce, Pride and Rizin during his illustrious career.

Goodridge, who faced Fedor Emelianenko back in 2003 at Pride Total Elimination, recently spoke about the Russian's career in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda MMA.

According to 'Big Daddy', Emelianenko must be considered one of the greatest heavyweight fighters because he had no holes in his game. Gary Goodridge stated:

"At that point in time, he was the best back then [during his time in Pride] because he did everything really well...Either you were this or that, but he did everything well. He also hit like a truck. It was tough, we had to suck it up [when fighting Emelianenko]. He was tough man." [16:00]

Gary Goodridge discusses fighting Fedor Emelianenko

Gary Goodridge revealed he wishes he had another chance to fight Fedor Emelianenko, claiming the outcome would have been entirely different.

Goodridge and 'The Last Emperor' went head-to-head back in 2003 at Pride Total Elimination. At the time, 'Big Daddy' was undefeated in his last five fights, while Emilanenko was sporting an 11-fight undefeated streak.

According to Goodridge, he and his team had prepared for the Russian fighter to be patient during their bout, but the 46-year-old surprised Goodridge by rushing at him as soon as the fight clock started. The Russian heavyweight's aggression paid off as he caught the Trinidadian-Canadian early, putting him down with kicks and strikes just after the first minute of round one.

When asked if he would have liked to run it back, Gary Goodridge stated that he was confident their rematch would have been entirely different. He told Sportskeeda MMA:

"I really wish I had to chance to fight him [Fedor Emelianenko]. What happened with him, what I learned from him, is how he laid back and stayed calm before rushing at me 100%. I wasn't ready for that from him at all, so I got clipped right away and went down right away...If I'd fight him again, It'd be alot different. Next time is a next lifetime." [15:00]

Catch the full interview below:

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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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