It would appear that the first genuine UFC vs. Strikeforce has been signed. Frank Mir will be making a one-night only appearance on Showtime to fight heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier in one of the most intriguing fights of 2012.
[adinserter block=”2″]I got the headline right over the weekend, just not the story. I wrote a blog entitled “Former UFC champion signs with Strikeforce.” I was referring to an MMAJunkie.com report that said Tim Sylvia was fighting Cormier. Apparently that fight fell through as a different former champion has now stepped in to fight the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix champion.
This is truly the first UFC vs. Strikeforce Super Fight. Sure, we have seen Strikeforce champions Dan Henderson, Nick Diaz, and Alistair Overeem fight in the UFC. But this is the first situation where a guy from the UFC or Strikeforce has moved over to the other company for one fight only. Zuffa did try and pull off something similar by trying to get BJ Penn to fight Gilbert Melendez in Strikeforce but that fight fell apart. But Mir is the first fighter in either company to actually crossover for one super fight with the other promotion’s top star. Every indication I have gotten is that this is a one-shot deal for Mir and he is not joining Strikeforce full-time.
“There has been a lot of speculation as to who Cormier would fight next, and this is the fight that makes the most sense,” UFC president Dana White said. “The reality is, Cormier is one of the best heavyweights in the world. He just won the grand prix and beat Josh Barnett. He needs to fight opponents of that caliber, and Frank Mir is that guy.”
The timing of this fight is also a big story. A little over a week ago Dave Meltzer broke a story about Strikeforce fighters not being allowed to go to UFC when their contracts were up. That story has been confirmed and denied several times over since then. My hunch and it is only a hunch is that Dana White must be getting something out of this deal. I can’t see him just giving up one of his top five heavyweights because Strikeforce needs a main-event. My hunch is that Gilbert Melendez will wind up in the UFC sometime over the next six months but again, this is only my guess.
This is a really intriguing fight on a lot of levels. Politically, I don’t know if the fight necessarily even makes sense. Cormier is coming to the UFC after this fight. Cormier would likely get a UFC heavyweight title shot either in his debut or with one win. The problem is that Cormier trains with Cain Velasquez and the two are very close. Cormier has already said that he won’t fight Velasquez if Velasquez wins the title and that he’d move down to light heavyweight. So what happens if Cormier wins and Velasquez wins? You have now sacrificed one of your top five heavyweights to a guy that may not even fight in the division!
[adinserter block=”1″]What if Frank Mir wins? I think Cormier would be tarnished coming to the UFC off a Mir loss. It is one thing for Mir to beat Cormier in the UFC, but it is another thing for Comier to lose in Strikeforce, and then come over. For one thing, you can’t give Cormier a title shot if that is the plan (and JDS wins vs. Velasquez). Two, thanks to Hector Lombard there is a perception that fighters are overrated in other promotions until they win in the UFC. In other words, there is not a whole lot of upside other than a monster rating for Showtime. I know that Mir just got destroyed by JDS but he is still a very dangerous fighter. It is not out of the realm of possibility to see him take a win here.
The fight is targeted for late October/early November.
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