It seems apt to write a piece on one of the greatest fighters in the brief history of the sport. Not as an epitaph as I still believe we'll see more from Fedor but to take stock of just how amazing his achievements truly are.
It had to be about Fedor, there's no other way to start. A friend of mine and I were driving to the casino at 3am a while back and we began talking about Fedor. He said something interesting which, in the current light, seems incredibly apt.
"I don't think Fedor will care if he loses, you can
tell by his demeanour and his approach to the sport. He'll approach it with the same ice cold methodicism that he approaches everything else with."
Fedor has remained, and realistically still is, one of the last great enigmas in mixed martial arts. Dana may constantly talk about how he's not interested and doesn't respect Fedor but somehow it doesn't wash. He may as well be pulling at Fedor's pigtails and chasing him round the playground.
The UFC is in a much stronger position that is has ever been with heavyweights and the magnitude of the incoming Carwin vs. Lesnar fight surely is testament to this. You can't overlook just what Fedor has done in his career that has seen a winning streak that (officially) went for 10 years and 28 fights. People talk about the UFC now but, if you cast your mind back , it's not that long ago that the UFC were offering us Sylvia vs. Monson when Pride had already given us Fedor vs. Cro Cop.
Fedor has fought and beaten the best, that is simply fact. His situation with the UFC was an unfortunate one and I guess it's all speculation as to how close the deal was to being done. It would have generated some very interesting match ups but there are still battles for Fedor to take wherever in the world he chooses to go.
This is all the more amazing when you see the fact that Fedor could easily cut weight and fight at 185 pounds but he chooses to test himself against the biggest and the best fighters in the world. Some may be quick to mock some of the fighters that he has defeated but a true champion realises that his role is not to question his opponent, only to defeat them.
I've only read bits and pieces of the Internet response to Fedor's defeat as it didn't throw me up any surprises. A lot of people quick to point out the first submission loss of his career rather than focus on the 32 wins he has strung together and how it's unlikely that we'll ever see another streak of that magnitude for a very long time. He (realistically) didn't lose a fight in a 10 year career that spanned over 35 fights and he finally gets caught by the best BJJ heavyweight on the planet. If that had happened to any other fighter the reaction by the public would have been totally different.
If Fedor's loss should teach the mixed martial arts community anything it should be that everyone is human and that no one is invincible, especially in a sport that has a myriad of variables dictating victory. How far did Kazuyuki Fujita come to defeating Fedor that night? The truth is we'll never know. In short it's way too soon to be making predictions and pointing fingers of blame. The best voice to give logic to this situation is Fedor's and I think his words sum up why he will always be a legend, irrespective of which continent he makes his living on.
"The one who doesn't fall never stands up. It happened that people made me an idol. But everybody loses. I'm just a human being. And if it's God's will next fight, I'll win."