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Fabricio Werdum not sure Fedor Emelianenko deserves title shot in first UFC fight, but is open to rematch

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Esther Lin/Strikeforce

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Will Fedor Emelianenko sign with the UFC? If he does, heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum would gladly welcome him to the Octagon.

Fresh off a submission win over Cain Velasquez in Mexico City, Werdum still doesn’t know who will get the first crack at his belt, and a rematch against the former PRIDE heavyweight star isn’t off the table.

Emelianenko hasn’t fought since a quick win over Pedro Rizzo in 2012, when he announced his retirement from the sport, but recently admitted he’s interested in fighting again. Werdum, who ended Emelianenko’s 28-fight unbeaten streak in Strikeforce in 2010, isn’t sure the Russian fighter deserves to fight for the gold right away if he ends up signing with the UFC.

"I don’t think we can do a rematch now because he hasn’t fought in three years," Werdum told the media during UFC 190 in Brazil. "If he signs with the UFC, I don’t know if they would give him a title shot already. I think it would me fair if he fought before, and then he fights for the title."

However, Werdum knows that a rematch with Emelianenko would get hardcore fans interested right away, so he would take the fight.

"Maybe they do a rematch with Fedor in December," he said. "Even though the new fans don’t know much about Fedor’s history, the old fans, those who know MMA, know who Fedor is. That might happen. It only depends on the negotiation.

"He lost twice after I beat him, and people forgot him too fast. If you ask around who Fedor is, no one knows. He was undefeated for 10 years, and he needed some rest. It would be cool if the UFC signed him. I would give him a rematch, no doubt."