Last week I made a few phone calls to try to nail down for certain when and where Fedor Emelianenko is fighting next, and everyone I talked to said Fedor's next fight will be the Affliction show in early 2009.
The problem, of course, is that I live in the United States and only speak English. Fedor speaks Russian and has spent most of his MMA career in Japan. And it's clear that while everyone in the U.S. is saying Fedor is fighting here next, when Fedor and his people talk to a Japanese audience, they like to leave their options open.
In an interview on the official Dream web site, Fedor suggested that it's still possible he could fight for Dream in Japan on New Year's Eve. He also, however, mentioned the possibility that he could fight next for Affliction against either Andrei Arlovski or Josh Barnett.
Who is your rival?
I have been told that my opponent would be Andrei Arlovski or Josh Barnett in the next Affliction. Both of them were the former UFC champions and I'm sure they are strong.
Japanese fans are expected to see you fight in NYE in Japan again.
I want to fight in Japan again; however, I cannot control everything. God knows what will happen. Whether I fight or not in NYE depends on a negotiation between my manager and DREAM.
That sounds to me like Fedor is probably going to fight Arlovski or Barnett on Affliction's next show, but he wants to at least leave himself the option of fighting for Dream, if for no other reason than to have leverage with Affliction. I'm hoping Fedor's next fight is in the United States, against a Top 10 opponent, and sooner rather than later. But I'm not holding my breath.