Olympian Rhadi Ferguson Gets New Strikeforce Challengers 13 Opponent

Strikeforce MMA LogoUndefeated light heavyweight and four-time U.S. National Judo Champ and 2004 U.S. Judo Olympian, Dr. Rhadi Ferguson (2-0), will face John Richard (3-1) in a featured match on the Strikeforce Challengers 13 fight card this Friday at Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville on Showtime.

The 6-foot-1, 28-year-old Richard (pronounced “ruh-shard”) is a replacement for Canada’s Ion Cherdivara, who withdrew from the card late Tuesday due to visa problems.

Richard, a talented, explosive wrestler, has made short work of his opposition in his three victories, winning all in the first round. In his last outing on Oct. 23, he submitted (choke) Steven Banks at 1:19. In his outing before last on Aug. 28, he got Ryan Bedini to tap out via rear-naked choke at 3:38.

Since turning pro on April 24, 2010, Richard has mostly campaigned as a 230-pound heavyweight. This will be his long-awaited return to 205 pounds.

“In my last couple fights I was outweighed by 30-40 pounds, so getting back down to 205 is a big deal for me,’’ Richard said. “I’m really looking forward to fighting at this weight and excited to get the opportunity to step up and showcase my skills.”

A welterweight showdown between Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine headlines Strikeforce Challengers 13, which airs on Showtime as part of the network’s free preview weekend.