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Fedor Emelianenko: “I have to go to the U.S. in order to face the strongest opponents.”

Given Fedor Emelianenko’s failed run in Strikeforce and past contractual issues with Zuffa it seems improbable The Last Emperor” will ever grace the Octagon. However, in an interesting turn of events the iconic Russian recently acknowledged the UFC is the place to be for any Mixed Martial Artist hoping to face the sport’s best, even going so far as to tease a possible match-up with Cain Velasquez.

While his statements could be seen as posturing in hopes of eliciting a better deal overseas and do little to address the issue of co-promotion as M-1 Global has sought before, they do at least lend hope to the slim possibility of Emelianenko finally making his way to the infamous eight-sided cage.

Saying he was targeting June/July for his next fight in an interview with SportBox.ru, Emelianenko added, “Of course, I want to compete at home, in front of my countrymen. But at the moment, the strongest and most respected MMA organization is situated in America. It’s the UFC. Therefore, I have to go to the US in order to face the strongest opponents.”

The 33-4 PRIDE legend also confirmed there have been discussions behind the scenes about meeting former UFC champion Velasquez later this year.

Emelianenko has won back-to-back bouts since parting ways with Strikeforce including victories over Jeff Monson and Satoshi Ishii. The 35-year old looked dominant in both performances though neither is at the UFC-level in terms of present ability, calling into question how well he’d actually do against the cream of the crop.

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC