It’s no secret that for years, White pursued the Russian to try and sign him to fight inside the UFC Octagon. It’s also no secret that Emelianenko retired without ever fighting for the UFC, and the questions about the former champion are sometimes a thorn in the side of White who hasn’t missed out on too many pursuits in his time as the UFC’s head honcho.
Over the years, White has been critical of Emelianenko’s regard as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.
Now that Emelianenko has walked away from competition, White can look back at his career with a little more honest reflection, and he gives him his due when it comes to the heavyweight division.
“Do I think that Fedor is one of the greatest heavyweights ever? Yes, he’s one of the greatest heavyweights ever. I’ll give you that,” White stated on Tuesday.
Bending isn’t breaking however, and while White will give Emelianenko his due in the heavyweight division, he’s not ready to place his name among the all time greats to ever compete in the sport.
White looks at UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva as the greatest fighter who has ever stepped foot into the MMA arena, and while he didn’t name any other names, he doesn’t believe Fedor Emelianenko is among them.
“Is he one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time? You’re out of your minds,” said White.
Emelianenko retired from MMA earlier this year and finished his career with an impressive 34-4-1 record overall.