Fedor is without doubt the heavyweight goat and in the p4p mix.
Ten years undefeated in the most dangerous weight class of the most dangerous sport!
Not only were most of the guys he fought pretty much all in their prime (Big Nog, Randleman, Coleman, Crocop etcetc), they were also juiced out of their mind.
Vitor took years to find a suitable balance for his body after he ballooned too quickly. When he got the TRT exemption, he looked like a god among man and smashed all his high ranking middleweight opponents violently except Silva (who pissed hot whenever tested btw). This reversed immediately when AAS were not an option anymore.
Similarly, the Hammerhouse monsters would waltz over the majority of their opposition comfortably, with no fear of headkicks and while wearing shoes!
Yes, sure, Fedor got some filler fights,eg Zulu. But let’s be honest here: Champs want to fight as little as possible. No sane heavy champ today accepts a fight without getting something in return. Those extra fights were pure fan service on top of regular fighting.
Also, the skill level: While some aspects surely improved, one big difference in mdoern MMA is proper usage of the cage. If you don’t know how important that is you’re probably new to the sport. In Pride, however, that aspect was nonexistant.
You can even make the point that because there was no wall wrestling and escaping, no stalling, little pointfighting and a long first round is was harder. You’d need more endurance and determination to face those chemical supermen who had an easier time specialising.
If Cormier beat Stipe, his stock goes way up. Stipe is the best MMA heavy for a reason. He has the complete package and makes the best out of it and brings the mental game as well. Cormier will go down as one of the greatest ever.
Felony Fighter Jones is not among these men, as his record is absolutely tainted.