On May 19, 2012 after more than a year of wait we get the end of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. Although there have been injuries, fighter releases, and upsets, fans will finally get to see Josh Barnett against Daniel Cormier for the Grand Prix title. It also marks the last heavyweight fight in Strikeforce as the weight class gets pulled into the UFC.
Barnett regarded as the No. 3 heavyweight in the world by most is looking to make it back into the UFC after years of steroid issues by defeating the undefeated prospect. It’s almost crazy to think Barnett could be back in the world’s biggest MMA promotion because he’s single handedly destroyed promotions with his drug issues. Barnett back in the UFC would be a huge turn around in his career.
Cormier is the prospect who wasn’t supposed to be here. He’s 9-0 and the only reason he entered the Grand Prix is due to Allistair Overeem’s release. Cormier shockingly upset Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the semifinals and now takes on Barnett. He’s a former Olympic wrestler and has used that to his advantage. I believe eventually Cormier will drop to 205, likely after he faces Barnett, but until then this is his opportunity to make a name for himself.
Also on the card is Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thompson III. Thompson might not be the most credentialed fighter to be facing Melendez, but until he comes to the UFC there aren’t many options. It should be an easy win for Melendez although Thompson has beat Gil before.
The other fight is between Feijao and Mike Kyle in the light heavyweight division.This is a rematch of a fight that Kyle won nearly three years ago.
This card gives us six big name fighters and with King Mo released there aren’t many big names left out there. While Strikeforce does have to finish off the year with Showtime, but looks to be on its way out. It wouldn’t surprise me if Strikeforce becomes a mainly women’s MMA promotion which isn’t necessarily bad. That will give women the opportunity to headline more events and get their names out on a big promotion.