When the new deal between Strikeforce and Showtime was brokered and announced, one of the biggest revelations was that the once thriving heavyweight division in the promotion would soon shift over to the UFC.
Just a year earlier, Strikeforce had assembled one of the greatest collections of heavyweight talent in the sport to create their first ever Grand Prix tournament.
Now all that remains of the Strikeforce heavyweight roster are the two remaining fighters in that tournament, Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier.
One oddity that was announced with that new deal, however, is that once Barnett or Cormier is crowned the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion, he would remain in the promotion for at least one more fight against an as of yet unknown opponent.
With the rest of the Strikeforce heavyweight roster already competing and thriving in the UFC, the question had to be asked if somehow those previously announced plans could be amended and the winner of the tournament move into action in the Octagon?
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker on Thursday confirmed that either Barnett or Cormier would indeed remain in the promotion for at least one more fight as previously planned.
“Yes, that is correct,” Coker answered when questioned about the heavyweight division plans in Strikeforce.
With that plan in place, it appears that the winner of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix will stick around for at least one more fight. Based on the timing of that fight, it could keep them out of a potential UFC debut until 2013.
No decision has been made as of yet who will face either Barnett or Cormier in Strikeforce, but there are discussions being had. There’s just no one fighter in mind to bring in for the last heavyweight super fight in the promotion’s history.
“Just some preliminary conversations, but as you can imagine it just depends on who wins and if there’s any injuries, things like that. Then any injuries to any other fighters that we might be looking to come fight the winner,” Coker revealed.
“That’s something we can probably have a better picture of once this fight is over, see the outcome, and see if there’s any injuries.”
It’s unclear at this time if the fighter not victorious at next weekend’s Stikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix will be held up any longer, but most likely, he could shift over to the UFC as soon as health permits.
Now it’s just a matter of finally concluding the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, and then finding a suitable opponent to face the winner later this year.