The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest pound for pound fighter in MMA history

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/21/2012 Category: Sports
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,346 times Debate No: 20551
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing that. Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest fighter in MMA history. Simply put no man in history has gone on a streak beating the level of competition that Fedor was able to achieve. The man went 31-1 over a ten year period with the sole loss being a TKO loss due to a cut after 17 seconds of which he avenged later on.

He was able to beat almost every reputable heavyweight of the period. He fought people over a foot taller and others over 160 pounds heavier. He fought a large variety of his opponents, many of which at their own game. Whether submitting silver medallists at judo or knocking out Arlovski on the feet or beating Nogueria in his own guard for 15 minutes. Fedor proved he possessed ridiculous knockout power coupled with vicious ground and pound as well as sick take downs and also proved to have a great submission game.

The man was able to beat 2 k-1 champions, 2 Olympic medalists in judo, a silver medalist in wrestling, an ADCC champion and 5 UFC heavyweight champions. Whilst racking up 12 top 10 wins in the process.

To achieve what he did as an undersized heavyweight often choosing to fight rather game plan shows him as being the greatest fighter of all time in any weight class.


To win this debate, I merely need to show one MMA fighter has ever been better than Fedor Emelianenko. And unfortunately for my opponent, Emelianenko is not the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in MMA history. That distinction clearly belongs to Anderson Silva.

1. Anderson Silva has defeated better competition

While Silva (31 - 4) and Emelianenko (33 - 4) own similar win / loss records, Silva deserves credit for beating significantly better competition. According to Silva's manager Ed Soares, the comparison isn't even close:

"Yeah, Fedor had 30 wins, but do you know some of those guys he had wins against? I mean who are they? One of them’s an actor, one of them was a comedian, I mean no offense but Hong Man Choi? How can you compare that to the guys that Anderson has been able to beat? From Vitor Belfort to Rich Franklin to Forrest Griffin to Dan Henderson. . . If that doesn’t prove it, I don’t know what else does." [1]

Similarly, Sports Illustrated's Tim Marchman had the following to say when comparing their level of competition:

"[Emelianenko's] record is padded with conquests of the likes of pro wrestler Yuji Nagata, pituitary case Hong-Man Choi and judoka Naoya Ogawa. Imagine Cain Velasquez taking fights against John Cena, Butterbean and Shaquille O'Neal and you'll have an idea of the absurdity of some of these bouts. . . . Silva, by contrast, has always faced professional fighters." [2]

2. Anderson Silva wins in more convincing fashion

Since coming to the UFC, Silva hasn't just won his all of fights (14 - 0 record); he has dominated. Of his 14 wins, 12 came from knockout or submission - a simply amazing percentage. [3] This is in stark contrast to Fedor Emelianenko, as Tim Marchman points out:

"In the four most important fights [Silva] had, against Henderson, Rich Franklin and Forrest Griffin, he won in devastating style. He doesn't just finish elite opponents, but makes them seem as if they're competing in a different and lesser sport. It's a gift. In his four most important fights, Emelianenko won three decisions and took a no-contest. This is no cause for shame, but it's a fact." [2]

3. Silva defeated an opponent that later knocked out Emelianenko

While Silva and Emelianenko haven't fought against each other, they do share one common opponent: Dan Henderson. Comparing their results against Henderson removes all doubt as to which fighter is better.

In 2008, Silva submitted a 37-year old Dan Henderson by rear naked choke in the second round - quite a feat considering that Henderson was a two-time Olympian in Greco-Roman wrestling. By contrast, Emelianenko got knocked out in the first round by a 40-year old Henderson in 2011. [4]

4. Silva has gotten better with age

Although Silva (36) is more than a year older than Emelianenko (35), Silva remains the best fighter in the world while many people speculate that Emelianenko is already washed up.

Silva is currently riding a 15-match winning streak, and is the consensus #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world according to ESPN, Sherdog, Yahoo! Sports,, and other publications. [3] According to one MMA blogger, even this is an understatement: "Just calling Silva the best doesn't really capture just how big a gap there is between Silva and the rest of the sport right now." [5]

Emelianenko, by contrast, only recently stopped a three-match losing streak. He isn't listed anywhere in the top 10 best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. [5]

Age and fight experience don't account for this huge discrepancy between the fighters, because Emelianenko is younger than Silva and began fighting later in his life. [1]



Debate Round No. 1


Anderson Silva's run since 2006 has been great but it has not surpassed Fedor's between 2001-2010

Anderson Silva has defeated better competition
1.Clearly Anderson Silva's manager is going to be completely unbiased when comparing the two men… How about Bas Rutten who is a neutral party who has been involved in the sport for 20 years saying , "Fedor has no weakness! I have seen so many fight and even the best fighters in the world have a flaw in their game but I have yet to find one in Fedor" (1)
2. Look at Anderson's Silva first 20 fights (the majority of his career) Sakurai, Newton and Horn are the only notable names on it. None of which have ever held a Pride or UFC championship. Whilst Fedor beat 3 former UFC champions in his first 20 firsts. Even some of Anderson Silva's title fights have been against weak competition such as C�t�, Leites and Travis Lutter who were released from the UFC shortly after the fights.
3.Fedor has fought a larger variety of fighters than Anderson Silva has.
-The only top level striker Anderson Silva has fought is Vitor Belfort, a man whose best win is by cut after 50 seconds. Fedor has beaten both Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski who are both former ufc heavyweight champions known for their standup. As well as beating K-1 grand prix winners Mark Hunt and Semmy Schilt. As well as beating kickboxing sensation Mirko Cro Cop
-The best wrestler Anderson Silva has beaten is Chael Sonnen a man whose best wrestling credentials are finishing one year 8th in NCAA wrestling. Fedor has beaten Kevin Randleman who was a two time NCAA wrestling champion as well as former UFC heavyweight champion. Fedor also beat Mark coleman twice who also won an NCAA championship and was a UFC heavyweight champion. Fedor also holds a win over Matt Lindland a silver medal winner at the Olympics in freestyle wrestling.
-Even in the world of submission grappling fedor's opponents have better credentials. Fedor holds a submission of Olympic silver medallist in Judo Ogawa and a knockout over 2008 Olympic gold medallist in heavyweight Judo Ishii. Anderson to his credit owns a victory over the 2007 ADCC champion Demian Maia, but Fedor holds victories over Arona and Jeff Monson who both also won ADCC championships.

Anderson Silva wins in more convincing fashion
Anderson beat demian maia by standing up with him and refusing to go the ground with him. Fedor spent 15 minutes on the ground with Arona (two time ADCC champion) and won. He beat all 3 of the wrestlers I mentioned earlier by submission and yet again armabarring an Olympic medallist at Judo is no easy accomplishment. Yet he has also one punched knocked out people who are notorious for their boxing such as Arlovski and Brett Rogers. Simply put Anderson beats people at his game whilst Fedor beats people at their own because he is more well rounded. By the way Fedor has won 76% of his fights by finishes whilst Anderson Silva has won 77%. So it is not a particularly great argument.

Silva defeated an opponent that later knocked out Emelianenko
1.Antonio Schembri (5-5 in mma) holds a victory over Daiju Takase (10-13) who holds a submission victory of Anderson Silva. MMAth does not work in deciding who the greater fighter is, styles
2.Dan Henderson is on testosterone replacement therapy whilst Fedor is not, so it is not simply as easy as looking at age as Henderson may feel significantly younger physically than an out of prime Fedor. (2)
3.Fedor knocked down Henderson before Hendo rolled back and landed an uppercut which was fairly lucky. Many feel the fight was stopped early before Fedor could properly launch a comeback. (3)

Not enough space to debate your final point.


LiberalHoyaLawya forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Silva has gotten better with age
As you stated Silva is older and started fighting earlier yet became Pride heavyweight and became considered the world's best heavyweight in March 2003, age 27 with a record of 13-1(the loss being a cut in the first minute of a fight). Anderson silva became Middlweight champion age 31 with a record of 18-4 in 2006. Why does Anderson Silva get credit for having a weaker start to his career? It could be argued Fedor picked up the game quicker due to being more naturally talented and simply after winning 26 straight fights lost the motivation to be a top level fighter. Fedor was considered the top heavyweight in the world for over 7 years, Anderson Silva has been considered the top middleweight now for 5 years. When the first pound for pound list was released in 2007 Fedor came top and would hold the position until July 2010. Anderson Silva has been top of the pound for pound list for only just over 1 year. Anderson Silva's run between 2006 and present day has been impressive and has the potential to make him the greatest fighter of all time, yet it still has not surpassed that of Fedor between 2001-2010.

1. You can't judge on the potential of what might hapen for a fighter, you have to look at what they've achieved. Anderson has not yet surpassed Fedor in total greatness.
2. Anderson has not faced the range of high level fighters than Fedor has. Fedor has beaten the best in striking and grappling. Even in terms of pure MMA fighters beating Nog twice and Cro Cop is more impressive than beating Hendo or Sonnen.
3. Anderson's becoming successful later in age in no more impressive than how young fedor was when he became the best in the world.
4. No other fighter has gone 31-1 with one loss as a cut being undefeated for 10 years against the best in the world including 5 former UFC heavyweight champions.
5. Fedor was the best in a stronger division. Anderson never fought top middleweights such as Lindland, Filho or Shields. Fedor was also undersized for his division and fought people larger than him.


Note on conduct:

First of all, I apologize to my opponent for forfeiting the previous round, as I couldn't respond within the 24 hour time limit due to work-related commitments. In fact, I only have ten minutes remaining on my current lunch break before this debate expires in two hours, so this round will have to be brief as well. In retrospect, I shouldn't have agreed to a debate with a 24-hour time limit, but that's my fault. I understand completely if the voters wish to award the "conduct" category to my opponent, but I hope I can still win the "spelling & grammer," "sources," and "arguments" categories.

Rebuttal arguments:

1. Level of competition

My opponent fairly pointed out that the opinion of Anderson Silva's manager might be biased, but that wasn't the only source I cited in arguing that Silva has faced better competition than Emelianenko. I also cited Sports Illustrated's Tim Marchman, who conducted a comprehensive study of both fighters and concluded that, overall, both fighters had a comparable level of competition, given that Emelianenko had "padded" his win/loss record against so many weak fighters. [1] My opponent then cited Bas Rutten's opinion as a "neutral party," but his appraisal of Fedor's talents (1) had nothing to do with Fedor's level of competition, (2) didn't say anything about Anderson Silva or his level of competition, and (3) was given before Fedor's recent 3-match losing streak.

2. Who wins more convincingly

My opponent argues that Emelianenko is a better fighter because he defeats his opponents "at their own game," but this doesn't say much. Having the ability to win in a variety of different ways doesn't necessarily make Fedor a better fighter than Silva, as my opponent doesn't consider the possibility that Fedor is merely a "jack of all trades, but master of none."

Why should Anderson Silva be penalized for beating people at "his game?" Silva wins so easily that he often toys with his opponents by dropping his arms and daring them to throw punches. If you were having that much fun winning, why would you change your fight style?

3. Silva beat an opponent that later knocked out Emelianenko

Here, my opponent was really grasping for excuses. First of all, the testerone replacement therapy is a moot point, because Henderson has acknowledged in media interviews that he was on testosterone therapy well before he fought Silva. To the extent that this therapy might have posed a competitive disadvantge for Fedor, it applied equally to Silva, and Silva obviously didn't have an issue with it. Secondly, while "MMAth" might not be irrefutable proof that certain fighters are better than others, the inescapable fact is that Henderson is the only common opponent between Silva and Emelianenko, and voters can draw their own conclusions about the fact that Silva won and Emelianenko lost.

Finally, the fact that Emelianenko let a 40-year old opponent knock him out in the first round with an uppercut wasn't "lucky;" it was sloppy. One-punch knockouts happen all the time in MMA, and a failure to defend against such punches is highly relevant in determining how good a fighter actually is.

4. Silva has gotten better with age

What is more impressive - the fact that a fighter became world champion at age 27, or the fact that a fighter remains a world champion at age 36? Clearly the latter. Any decent fighter in the prime of his physical conditioning can be a champion, but it takes a truly elite fighter to make nine consecutive title defenses into his late 30s. That testifies to Silva's unprecedented level of skill and experience, rather than his natural gifts. My opponent might as well be arguing that Mike Tyson (the world's youngest heavyweight champion boxer) was a greater boxer than Muhammed Ali, which is clearly a preposterous claim. To the extent that Emelianenko may have "lost the motivation to be a top level fighter" at 33, his legacy as a fighter should be penalized accordingly.


[1] See my second source from round 2.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by rodmaster 4 years ago
Yeah I only just joined so I thought 24 hours would be ages to post a response, but by the time you get back home and stuff you don't actually have that long to respod
Posted by LiberalHoyaLawya 4 years ago
Hi Rodmaster - I'm very sorry, but I was at work when my 24 hours to argue expired. Please finish your rebuttal, and I'll post again in Round 3.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Hardcore.Pwnography 4 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: FF = conduct to pro. CON provides good arguments that Pro does not respond well to. e.g. Silva defeated an opponent that later knocked out Emelianenko and Silva has gotten better with age