The Strikeforce heavyweight division may be the deepest weight class the promotion has, and it’s exemplified by the upcoming Grand Prix kicking off this weekend in New Jersey.
With 8 of the world’s best heavyweights in the tournament, several top flight up and comers are also slotted in as alternates should someone get injured in the 3 round tournament format.
Proof of the strength of the division is the fact that one of Strikeforce’s best heavyweight prospects isn’t even in the tournament, or currently slated to appear in one of the alternate bouts. Undefeated American Kickboxing Academy fighter Daniel Cormier won his last fight over Devin Cole in early January, but most likely because of timing hasn’t been slotted in as an alternate for the heavyweight Grand Prix yet.
Cormier isn’t sure when he’ll be back in action just yet, but he believes this weekend’s card in New Jersey could play a crucial part in that decision.
“I think I’m in a position now where a lot of the things that goes on this weekend is going to determine what my next step is,” Cormier told MMAWeekly Radio. “Maybe a guy coming off of one of those alternate bout wins, or maybe a guy coming off one of those alternate bout losses is an opponent that fits in to what I’m doing right now in terms of the way my career’s progressed.
“Progression is another step up, one of these guys they see fit to make an alternate in this tournament, maybe I take on a winner of one of those reserve bouts.”
While Cormier would be happy to take an open spot in the heavyweight Grand Prix if Strikeforce made that call, realistically he understands that because of the alternate bouts already set up for this weekend, he’s not likely to get the shot.
Either way, he’s ready to step up to the challenge if they ask him to fill in.
“I think it’s getting to a point in my career where I’m going to have to,” Cormier said about facing the best in the heavyweight division. “You have to put out the opportunities put out in front of you. The thing is though I would be so far down the list of reserve people.”
Cormier did however take a look at the murderer’s row of heavyweights already in the tournament, and he’s absolutely impressed.
Cormier is also a main training partner of UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, who is currently sidelined by a shoulder injury, but even his teammate admits that the winner of the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix will be considered the top big man in the sport.
“With the injury and the time off and dare I say level of competition that (Cain is) fighting and the guys in this tournament are fighting, it’s not a stretch to say the guy that wins this is the No. 1 heavyweight in the world,” Cormier commented regarding the heavyweight division.
“These 8 guys, when you look at these 8 guys versus the top 8 guys in the UFC, I’m thinking Strikeforce wins a lot of those fights. The majority actually.”
Fans may not get to see some of those dream match-ups, but they will see a slew of other top fights when the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix kicks off this weekend. As for Cormier, he’ll be watching and waiting to get the call on which heavyweight is next on his hit list.