Ryan Bader believes Cain Velasquez was the “best” heavyweight not Bellator 290 opponent Fedor Emelianenko

By Cole Shelton - January 31, 2023

Ryan Bader thinks Cain Velasquez is the best heavyweight ever.

Ryan Bader, Fedor Emelianenko

The heavyweight GOAT is one many have no clear-cut answer on, as some think it is Velasquez while others lean towards Fedor Emelianenko or even Stipe Miocic. Yet Bader believes Emelianenko’s resume is the best out of anyone but he thinks Velasquez was the most skilled.

“I would say Cain Velasquez [was the best] when he’s healthy, but the only problem is Cain couldn’t stay healthy for so long and didn’t have the résumé and the fights that Fedor did,” Bader told MMA Fighting. “I would say Cain could go out there and be the best heavyweight of all-time. If you’re going to put a label on somebody, I would say Fedor would be [the one]. He didn’t come over to the UFC but it’s not taking anything away from him. He built a legacy. He fought those guys [in Japan], beat a lot of those guys. But if you were to put [on a fight] on their best night, Fedor versus Cain, I’m going to take Cain.”

Unfortunately for fans, a fight between Velasquez and Emelianenko never came to fruition. Yet, on Saturday night at Bellator 290, Ryan Bader will fight Fedor Emelianenko again for the heavyweight title.

The two fought back in 2019 with Bader winning by first-round TKO, so with that, the champ says at first he wasn’t too interested in having the rematch. However, Bader says fighting a legend like Emelianenko twice is special so he is excited about it.

“It’s just one of those things, I wasn’t really into it because it’s like, what do I have to gain?” Bader explained. “But the more we talked about it and the more I was thinking, it is a big fight, it’s on CBS, and at the end of the day it’s Fedor. For me to be part of his career not once, but twice, it’s something special. Obviously, too, there’s some upside — I could be the only guy that’s beaten Fedor twice.”

Do you agree with Ryan Bader that Cain Velasquez is the best heavyweight?