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Ronda Rousey names non-UFC Fighter as her MMA GOAT

LockerRoom Team
10 April 2024

In the realm of mixed martial arts, discussions about the greatest fighter of all time ignite fervent debates among fans and experts alike. While names like Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, and Anderson Silva often dominate these conversations, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has thrown a surprising name into the ring: Fedor Emelianenko.

In a recent interview with TalkSport MMA during her press tour for her new book, Rousey weighed in on the perpetual 'GOAT' debate in MMA. Despite her own claims to being the greatest of all time in women's MMA, Rousey acknowledged the unparalleled legacy of Emelianenko, affectionately known as "The Last Emperor."

Emelianenko, who retired from fighting last year, boasts a storied career marked by victories over esteemed opponents such as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Frank Mir, and Mark Coleman, despite never competing in the UFC. Rousey cited Emelianenko's sambo background and his iconic 2005 clash against Mirko Cro Cop as defining aspects of his greatness.

"I'm just a geek for Fedor, dude," Rousey shared in the interview. "I think Fedor, in his time, he had it all. He has a relationship with Judo too, and I'm a big Judo nerd. Sambo is basically Russian Judo, so I have to say him. Him versus Cro Cop is my favorite match of all-time."

However, Rousey's admiration for Emelianenko doesn't blind her to the formidable prowess of Jon Jones, another often-cited candidate for MMA's GOAT. When asked about a hypothetical matchup between Emelianenko and Jones, Rousey humorously suggested that Jones would emerge victorious effortlessly.

"Dude, Jon Jones wouldn't even need to train and he would win. That's just the most Jon Jones thing ever," Rousey quipped. "He would get off the boat from the Bahamas and just go in there and win. It's like, goddamn it! I trained my ass off and Jon Jones just shows up and wins!"

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While Rousey's assessment adds a fresh perspective to the ongoing GOAT discussion, her reverence for Emelianenko's contributions to MMA history underscores the multifaceted nature of greatness within the sport.

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