You say good-bye and I say hello. I've been waiting for a while to quote the Beatles in the Takedown. As Strikeforce tees up their last event Saturday January 12, the fun is just beginning.
Let's start the conversation off with Daniel Cormier. This sounds nasty, but I won't bother with a breakdown of his last fight. Dion Staring will not be able to handle the nearly 250-pound monster. That means Cormier will be moving over to the UFC as an 11-0 championship contender.
Cormier's wrestling and heavy hands make him something to be feared by anyone in the division. If anyone is listening or reading, I hope Cormier gets that Frank Mir fight, followed by Roy Nelson or Alistair Overeem, and then a shot at the title.
Cormier is one of the only fighters on the last card who will join the UFC as a legitimate title contender. Sorry Staring, you got tossed to the wolves on this fight card.
If you watch more than just ZUFFA events, you are more than familiar with Gegard Mousasi. With a 32-3-2 fight record, and a ton of time with some of the industry's best, Mousasi will be a legit contender as well when he comes over to UFC, if in fact he does.
Mousasi has spent most of his career in the Eastern world. He has competed for Pride, Dream and K1. He has had one loss in the past six years and it was to Muhammed (King Mo) Lawal. Mike Kyle on the other hand hasn't had quite the same experience.
Kyle is a talented fighter, but not on the same level as Mousasi. Kyle's last lost to Rafael Cavalcante was overturned when Cavalcante tested positive for a PED.
Mousasi should win this match if he stays away from getting caught by a big strike from Kyle. Then, Mousasi is free to come over to UFC as a veteran riding a win. His first fight should be against Alexander Gustafsson, then Lyoto Machida, then a shot for the title. I am confident that title shot with be Jon Jones, he looks like he should handle his next challenger with ease.
At middleweight, there is a lot of talent in the MMA world. If they plan on winning the UFC title, they will have to be good, because there is a Ninja sitting at the top of the division that seems to be unbeatable. Anderson Silva has made the middleweight division a division of challenges.
Ronaldo Souza vs. Ed Herman is in my opinion the Fight of the Night. Both athletes are skilled submission artists with great hands and this is one of the few fights that sends two great competitors over to the UFC, potentially. Remember, I am assuming these fighters want to make their way over to the UFC. Herman has a lot of great fights already in the UFC, most of them losses. This does beg the question, are these guys ready for the UFC?
If Souza wins, and I expect he will, I don't see him going straight to the top of a division. I see the winner of this fight getting the likes of Luiz Cane, C.B. Dollaway, or Tom Lawlor. Beat two of those guys, then move up to Michael Bisping, Vitor Belfort, and perhaps eventually get a shot at the champ.
I am looking forward to seeing Souza in the UFC and, like I said, Herman has been there before. Souza has a few wins, but hasn't looked dominant.
The hardest write up for me to do was the main event. It's tough as I am torn. As a friend and strength coach for Tarec Saffiedine I want to write about him coming in, cleaning up with Nate Marquardt and then jumping to the UFC and getting a title shot. However, if I wrote that, people probably would stop reading my columns.
I asked Rory MacDonald when this fight was announced how he felt about Strikeforce athletes coming over to the UFC. Specifically I asked about Saffiedine, who has emigrated from Belgium to Temecula, California to work with Team Quest. Before B.J. Penn fought MacDonald, Penn had Saffiedine in his camp to help mirror Rory's style.
Saffiedine is a very skilled striker, and his Judo background added to the Team Quest Grecko Roman Wrestling style is making him very well rounded. It means that Marquardt is going to have his hands full. Marquardt's last loss was against Yushin Okami at middleweight. He then dropped to welterweight and beat Dan Miller and Tyrone Woodley. It seems Marquardt has found his calling, and weight class.
Saffiedine has yet to fight someone the calibre of Marquardt. I know that he can rise to the occasion, the question is will he?
For both fighters, moving over to the UFC brings a lot of talent at the 170-pound weight class. Neither fighter is ready for Johny Hendricks' power, MacDonald's total package, Carlos Condit's heart, or Georges St-Pierre's total dominance.
Both Marquardt and Saffiedine are great for making the division deeper. I would love to say that these guys are top five in the welterweight division, but I would only be saying that, because they aren't there yet.
The major plus from this event is the fact that a small group of athletes will be riding a win into the UFC, and then looking for a new home to compete in. There is a lot of talent, and that means that the UFC can put on more shows without the worry of not having enough fighters. It also means that the promotion can look to have “backup” fighters for big events. Essentially, signing GSP to fight Hendricks, but have Condit ready to go in case of a training injury. There are enough fighters with talent now to tie up fighters as contingency plans.
As a side note, it will be interesting to watch Josh Barnett. If you don't know, he and Dana White are not best friends. It will be interesting to see what happens if he wins, purely for the entertainment and retweetable content.
Jordan Cieciwa can be heard on TSN Radio 1290 every Saturday at 11:30am ct with his show The Weigh-In. You can also follow Jordan at www.twitter.com/FitCityJordan and get all your fitness tips at www.onefitcity.com.