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On This Day in MMA History: “The Last Emperor” Decapitates Brett Rogers, Earns Dana White’s Respect & Retires With P4P G.O.A.T. Status Intact

I definitely have a huge advantage when it comes down to exchanging punches. That’s my strong point, and that’s definitely going to be his weak point.

I can’t not picture me knocking him out. So he better do some chin-ups or whatever he needs to do to make him strong, because I’m coming for him. He’s not going to be able to handle my power standing and banging. He stands in the pocket with me, he’s gonna get knocked out. 

Those words might as well have served as the last will and testament of noted patriarch Brett Rogers, who upon saying them, all but signed up to be violently and karmatically (for a number of reasons) knocked out by Fedor Emelianenko at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers on November 7th, 2009 – four years ago today.

Us Zuffa shills tend to forget this, but before Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, or Georges St. Pierre started dominating our “Greatest Mixed Martial Artist of All Time” (aka “The G.O.A.T”) debates, there was an emotionless Russian killer who was universally viewed in this light. His name was Fedor Emelianenko, and after quietly building a reputation as PRIDE‘s most dominant fighter over in Japan, “The Last Emperor” made his long-awaited stateside debut against Tim Sylvia at Affliction: Banned in July of 2008.

The fight would confirm what we already knew about Fedor, as would his next fight with Andrei Arlovski at Affliction: Day of Reckoning, but it wasn’t until his monumental signing with Strikeforce (a Strikeforce was kind of like a Bellator, but we don’t have time to discuss semantics) that US fans were truly introduced to the mythical Russian. And for his first “true” test, Emelianenko was given Brett “Da Grim” Rogers, a then-undefeated slugger who had one-upped Fedor by KO’ing Arlovski in just 22 seconds in his previous fight.

Fedor fans near and far flooded Illinois for the chance to see their hero compete. Fedor detractors (*cough* Dana White *cough*), on the other hand, were chomping at the bit to see him fail like they knew he would all along. And for the first five minutes of the contest, it looked as if the latter group might actually get their wish. Rogers punished Emelianenko with ground-n-pound, leaving “The Last Emperor” in worse shape than fans had ever seen prior.

But there is a reason why one round MMA fights were outlawed in the Geneva Convention, Potato Nation.

Like a scene out of a Friday the 13th movie (specifically, Jason Takes Manhattan), Emelianenko literally decapitated a gassed Rogers with an overhand right just under two minutes into the second, silencing his haters and solidifying his legacy as the baddest man to ever walk the Earth ever.

If our memory serves us correct, Fedor was legally forced to retire from mixed martial and register his hands as weapons of mass destruction after the Rogers fight. Emelianenko would abide with the grace and humility he had become infamous for over his long career, leaving behind a 32-1 record and a lifetime’s worth of highlight reel finishes. Yep, that’s how we are choosing to remember it. LALALALALA WE CAN’T HEAR YOU, FABRICIO.

Check out a full replay of Fedor vs. Rogers below, then ask yourself if we’ll ever see a fighter as perfect and unbeatable as Emelianenko again. Spoiler alert: The answer is no.

-J. Jones

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