Challenge issued; challenge accepted.
Mere hours after Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said he would need to sit down with M-1 Global officials to determine if a potential blockbuster fight between Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (33-11 MMA, 3-0 SF) and perennial top-ranked fighter Fedor Emelianenko (31-1 MMA, 1-0 SF) might be possible for later this year, those officials have answered the call.
And according to M-1 Global executive Evgeni Kogan, Fabricio Werdum is all that's standing in the way.
"As we've mentioned in the past, Fedor fights whoever is put in front of him," Kogan today told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
). "If Overeem is presented by the Strikeforce matchmakers as Fedor's next opponent, then that is who Fedor is going to fight."
After defeating Brett Rogers at Saturday night's "Strikeforce St. Louis: Heavy Artillery" event, Overeem made it a point to call-out the Russian heavyweight in his post-fight speech, as well as again in the evening's post-event press conference.
Coker was quick to point out that such a bout could only be arranged with the blessings of his business partners at M-1 Global, who own Emelianenko's promotional contract.
M-1 Global now seems receptive to that possibility, though Kogan said Emelianenko simply can't focus on that opportunity at this time with a June 26 matchup with Werdum in San Jose, Calif., on the horizon.
"At this point Fedor is choosing not to look past Fabricio," Kogan said. "He is in the most intense part of his training camp in Stary Oskol right now and would like for it to be known that he is focused 100 percent on Werdum.
"The camp considers Werdum a very strong and dangerous opponent – as Fedor's brother found out a few years ago – and all attention is currently on June 26 and San Jose."
So it appears, as least for now, that Emelianenko's Showtime-broadcast bout with Werdum is all that stands in the way of a matchup with Overeem. It's a bout that makes sense for the organization, makes sense for the fans, and apparently now makes sense for M-1 Global.
"I thought [Overeem] won in very impressive fashion," Kogan said. "We respect Alistair as an opponent and think that this would be a great potential matchup."