Ole! 'El Matador' flirting with Strikeforce contract

Fighter-turned-actor-turned fighter and current free agent Roger Huerta (20-3-1) has been in talks with the San Jose-based Strikeforce promotion after satisfying his UFC contract in a split decision loss to undefeated lightweight contender Gray Maynard at the Sept. 16 UFC Fight Night 19 event in Oklahoma.

"El Matador" -- who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2007 -- was bound by Zuffa's recently expired three-month "no compete" clause and has now opened the door to promotions outside of Las Vegas to continue his fighting career.

From Huerta's official Twitter account:

"My manager@jeffclarkmma and I met with scott coker and Richard Chou with strikeforce on monday. So I believe this is where..."

Intentionally ambiguous -- but keep in mind that Huerta and the UFC are still on good terms.

After an impressive 16-0 run, Huerta dropped a unanimous decision to Kenny Florian at UFC 87: "Seek and Destroy" back in August 2008. The former lightweight title contender declined a five-fight contract extension with Zuffa to pursue a career in acting and modeling.

There were a lot of questions surrounding his motivation and desire to fight in his final UFC bout, but "El Matador" reaffirmed his fighting spirit in a gutsy performance against Maynard, surviving a frightening looking Kimura from the "The Bully" and finishing strong.

Like fellow actor and fighter (and Strikeforce star) Cung Le, Huerta found periods of downtime in "Hollywood" and has since decided to continue his MMA career between projects.

It's not unrealistic to think he may still sign with the UFC with the promotion's trip to Mexico City on the horizon, but the appeal of a fresh start and new talent in Strikeforce also has its advantages.

Be sure to keep it dialed in to MMAmania.com for news on his next move. In the meantime, any fighters outside the Octagon you're itching to see him throw hands with? Gilbert Melendez? KJ Noons? Joachim Hansen?

Opinions por favor.

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