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The Dragon and The Last Emperor

Following last evenings brutal knockout over the previously undefeated light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans at UFC 98, it’s nearly impossible to not compare the man known as “The Dragon” to the one commonly referred to as “The Last Emperor”.

Both Fedor Emelianenko and Lyoto Machida have earned their reputations as two of the best fighters in the planet by defeating the best competition the world has brought before them. Neither has suffered a legitimate defeat in their battle tested careers (outside of Fedor’s bogus loss due to a cut suffered to Tsuyoshi Kohsaka in 2000 which he avenged with a wicked beating in 2005). These are the obvious comparisons.

Another thing that jumps out about both of these fighting gentlemen is the fact that you will likely see neither throwing up their middle fingers or dropping F-bombs anytime in their respective careers. As a matter of fact I have never once heard Fedor mumble the expression “Otebis”, or Lyoto being quoted as saying “Va’ se foder!” during any of the interviews I have seen.

Machida and Fedor could both truly be seen as ambassadors to the sport with their quiet and respectful demeanor outside of the cage. Even upon entering the ring both are extremely familiar in the way that they seem to be somewhere else far away mentally, in their happy place, with their power animal.

Style-wise they couldn’t be any more different though. Machida is the least hit fighter in the history of the UFC, he employs an elusive counter striking style on a level that has never before been seen in mixed martial arts, while Fedor is more of a man-bear. Sure Fedor doesn’t make it a habit to block punches with his jaw by any stretch of the imagination but he has long been known for utilizing a more aggressive overpowering style where he simply imposes his will and superior technique on his victims.

From an age perspective both men are similar with Fedor being 32 years of age while Machida is just 30. Either fighter could choose to remain active for another 5-10 years safely based on their styles of fighting combined with a mutual ability to avoid punishment.

However, Fedor is much older as far as ring time is concerned. He began his professional fighting career in May of 2000 and Lyoto got things started in May of 2003. Fedor has more than doubled the Brazilian’s time in the ring competing in 32 professional matches compared to Machida’s 15.

Let’s just be real for a second. Emelianenko has been considered the best in the game for quite some time now and we need to seriously start to consider how much longer we will have the opportunity to watch the legendary Sambo expert wreak havoc on the heavyweight division. The man is filthy rich in Russia, living the good life. I’m sure that money isn’t everything to a champion as proud as Fedor, but realistically, what’s left for “The Baddest Man on the Planet” to prove to himself or the sport for that matter. I think we’re going to have the heavyweight king for another two or three bouts max, and this is the point where Machida will very likely assume the role as the mystical, unbeatable champion.

Even though Lyoto accomplished what is considered to be the pinnacle of fighting when he knocked out Rashad Evans to capture the UFC’s light heavyweight championship last evening, something tells me that he is far from done evolving and proving what he has set out to prove in this sport before he considers stepping away.

Many are waiting for someone to figure out the riddle that is Machida’s impenetrable fighting style, unfortunately for the rest of the men that plan on competing at 205 pounds, the answer to that riddle may take longer to solve than previously expected.

  • neijia says:

    No one in mma is mentally better than Fedor. When he looks like he may be in trouble, like against Randleman and Arlovski, it’s like Tiger Woods coming out of the woods. Comes right back and just wins.

    Machida is a little of the technical wizardry of Anderson Silva (and now with some agressiveness in his style, looks a little more like the devastating Anderson whereas Anderson is looking more like the elusive Machida lately) and the Zen calmness of Fedor. Really fits the movie stereotype of the “martial arts master”. The nickname “The Dragon” suits him. Long live the Machida Era. It’s a triumph of traditional martial arts as well as mma (karate + sumo + bjj, all at the highest possible level).

  • Orwell says:

    Its a little early to start making comparisons between Fedor and Lyoto. He has an impressive record but there are still a few fighters to prove himself against before he becomes a bonafide phenom. Luckily they’re all in the UFC so he’ll get a chance. He’s an awesome fighter though and great for traditional martial arts.

  • neijia says:

    Perhaps. It’s really the mental presence that seems similar to me although Machida hasn’t exactly been put in any rough spots like the Randleman slam. Fedor always pulls a rabbit out of a hat. I thought he was clearly losing to Arlovski until bam. Machida seems technically superior p4p in striking and clinch. On the other hand, Fedor is the greatest at sambo and Machida’s bjj hasn’t been shown much in mma. He did beat Rafael Lovato, Jr. in grappling.

  • Screenplaya says:

    I think we need to see Machida versus Anderson Silva. Let Rashad coach and fight against Rampage. Machida/Silva could be touted as the battle to see who is the baddest man on the planet, and Evans/Rampage would sell itself.

    Dana and Joe, please make these things happen!


  • KTru says:

    Time and time again this has to be said,

    Silva and Machida are training partners, very close friends, and stated numerous times they will not fight each other.

    As Machida’s legendary status continues to grow, we will see the clamoring for those two to fight more,and talked about even more. But the match for surely will never come to fruition. So talk about it all you want, beg DW and Joe Silva, it will never happen.

    As for Fedor, he has been losing in many fights, but he never was in any immediate danger.

  • TheLevi75 says:

    the main difference between these two fighters is machida hasn’t fooght 12-15 cans like fedor.I know that fedor has destroyed the cans that he has faced,but when he fought the best in PrideFC,(BigNog – CroCop) he won by decision.and then there is all the fights he had against guys that weren’t even Hwts(BabaLu – Arona also decisions)and the Law Matt Linland is a Mwt. i also think that beaten up giant s with little to no skill (HongManChoi – ZuluZino) is not worth bragging about.
    but all in all thay are both great fighters.
    BTW coaching opposite Machida should give Rampage a good look at his style, if he is in fact the next coach.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Levi WTF!
    Yeah the main difference is that Fedor has fought UFC HW champs:
    Coleman x2
    Nog x3
    And Pride champs:
    Nog x3
    Coleman x2
    And K1 champs:
    And top 10 fighters:
    He KOed Sylvia and Arlovski (both stand up fighters) within 2min of the first rd. 23 of his 30 victories have come by stoppage.
    Lyoto Machida has faced 4 champs and 2 were in LOWER WEIGHT CLASSES THAN HE IS IN! 1 was a LW called BJ Penn and that went to a decision just like 8 of his 15 victories aout 60% of his wins including his win over Tito Ortiz! and if you look at the fighters Machida has fought I’m not sure at least 5 or 6 of them would even last a rd with Hong Man Choi. Babalu was a HW at the time too. Nog has only been stopped once ever.
    List the 12-15 cans please. Nobody in the sports history has faced and beaten as many highly decorated fighters as Fedor Emelianenko.
    Think a little, all the things you just said about Fedor Emelianenko apply more so to Machida. Have you even seen the Nog fights? he completely destroyed him. He beat Crocop on the feet and Nog on the ground.

  • s00nertp says:

    Great article, this is why I love 5oz.

    Obviously it is too early to tell whether the Machida excitement is hype or truely the dawn of a new era. That said, putting these two together is right on the money, if not just for their personalties.

    When I introduce MMA to someone, I ALWAYS break out Fedor videos:
    Arlovski, Sylvia, Mark Hunt, and obviously Randleman & Fujita

    By the time we are done, jaws are dropped, cheers heard and respect is piled up for Fedor’s calm and incredibly honorable personality. What other MMA legend has met & had their matches watched live by the president of their country, run with the olympic torch, and been given countless accolades?

    Ambassador of the sport indeed.

  • s00nertp says:

    wow, nicely written “MMA-LOGIC”


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