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Fedor Emelianenko Promises Two More US Fights in 2010

CHICAGO -- Fedor Emelianenko says he's committed to continuing to fight in the United States over the next year, saying Thursday that after his upcoming fight with Brett Rogers, he'll fight at least twice more in the United States in 2010.

"I'm planning on performing in the United States of America – definitely -- next year," Fedor said at a press conference to promote his fight with Rogers. "I know for sure I'll have two more fights in the United States next year and then we'll see how the contract works. Maybe I'll sign another contract."

The contract Fedor was referring to is a three-fight deal that he and his promotion, M-1 Global, signed with Strikeforce three months ago. Prior to signing the deal with Strikeforce, Fedor rejected a lucrative offer from the UFC because of the UFC's refusal to co-promote with M-1, and all indications are that Fedor has no intention of signing a contract with the UFC in the future.

The big question – and the reason so many MMA fans were disappointed when Fedor rebuffed the UFC – is whether Strikeforce can find worthy opponents for the fighter who's universally regarded as the best heavyweight in the sport. Fedor said he considers Rogers – who needed just 22 seconds to knock out former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski -- a formidable challenger.

"I watched the fight, Brett vs. Arlovski," Fedor said. "I know that Brett is very strong, he has a really strong knockout punch. We train for all our fights in the same way, with slight differences regarding the opponent. This time we made some (minor changes) regarding the technique of Brett."

But if Fedor dispatches Rogers as expected, can Strikeforce put him in the cage with opponents who will test him? Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said he's confident that it can. Coker noted that the winner of Saturday's fight between Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva could be next for Fedor, as could Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, who's currently focusing on his kickboxing career in Japan.

"We will get (Overeem) in the mix," Coker pledged.

And in something of a surprise, Coker suggested that Strikeforce is close to signing some other heavyweight fighters who could also potentially fight Fedor in 2010. Coker didn't name any names, but he promised an announcement "in the next week or so."

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