Fedor Emelianenko Now Says He Wants Alistair Overeem

In a dramatic about-face, Fedor Emelianenko released a statement Wednesday saying he wants his next fight to come this year against Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.

"This is an important match for me and something that I personally want to happen," Fedor said in a statement released by his promotion, M-1 Global. "There have been conversations about putting this match-up together in the past and now is the time to begin making this bout possible."

That represents a change in course for Fedor and M-1, who have clamored for an immediate rematch with Fabricio Werdum since Werdum upset Fedor on June 26, and suggested that if Fedor didn't get the rematch with Werdum (who is out the rest of the year because of elbow surgery) he'd fight in Russia or Japan next. Now Fedor apparently wants to get back in the Strikeforce cage and take on the best opponent available.

Two months ago, the prospect of a Fedor-Overeem fight had MMA fans drooling. That potential bout lost a lot of luster when Fedor lost to Werdum, however, and it's not clear whether Overeem and Strikeforce are ready to accept Fedor's challenge.

But Fedor has made it as clear as can be: He wants Overeem next.

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