There are a lot of big heavyweight fights coming up, but when hearing that, most people automatically discuss the upcoming UFC 146 card in Las Vegas.
Sure, five heavyweight fights on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view is an anomaly, and when you cap it off with a title fight between Junior dos Santos and Frank Mir, who wouldn’t be into that card?
The thing is, there’s another major heavyweight fight taking place a week prior to that, and it doesn’t seem to be getting nearly the same attention.
Former Olympian Daniel Cormier will look to keep his perfect record intact when he faces former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett in the finals of the first and only ever Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Cormier admits that some of the hype around the Grand Prix has died down in the last year, and he understands why, but he also wants people to know that when he and Barnett get in the cage, everyone should be paying attention.
“I think it should be a big fight. I think it’s gotten lost, and I think there’s a bunch of reasons as to why,” Cormier told MMAWeekly Radio. “The time it took for the tournament to be completed, Alistair Overeem not competing in the semifinals, there are a lot of reasons why things kind of got overlooked a little bit, but just when you really sit back and look at it, you’ve got two guys, two highly ranked guys fighting in a very intriguing match-up.”
Since being purchased by the UFC’s parent company Zuffa in 2011, Strikeforce has undergone a multitude of changes. At first it appeared the company would soon go out of business, and the fighters would all be folded over into the UFC.
Then a last-minute deal was struck between Showtime and Strikeforce to keep the fledgling MMA promotion on the network, and home to a slew of competitors. And just when it appeared there was gold at the end of the rainbow, UFC president Dana White, who had promised to spend more time aiding the promotion, took a step back when production issues with Showtime couldn’t be resolved.
Now on the cusp of the finale of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, there just isn’t the same kind of buzz around the fight between Cormier and Barnett as there seemingly should be.
“We’re trying to let people know we’re still here. We’re fighting in a really, really important fight and we want you guys to watch it and we’ll give you a great show,” said Cormier.
Why is this fight so important?
Well, primarily because both Barnett and Cormier are ranked in the top ten in the heavyweight division, and the winner will surely vault even higher depending on how exactly the fight plays out.
“Not only is it a good fight, but it’s important in the landscape of the heavyweight division,” said Cormier. “The winner of this fight needs to be considered in the top five in the world. It’s just unfortunate that it’s kind of gotten a little overlooked.”
If Cormier and Barnett were shifted to the upcoming all-heavyweight UFC 146 card, the former Olympian believes they would be fit in just fine amongst the best of the best who compete in the Octagon.
“I think if it was on a UFC card, it would either be third fight from the top or co-main event,” Cormier expressed. “I think it would be above Roy Nelson and Dave Herman, which is the third fight from the top.”
Now the question remains will the fans tune in to see Cormier and Barnett battle, and the more important question is: will they get the respect they deserve?