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Strikeforce postfight: ‘King Mo’ rips Mousasi, Rockhold still irked, Cormier’s future and Columbus in March is official

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

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Rockhold celebrates (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

LAS VEGAS - The Strikeforce postfight presser was unlike any we've seen in recent memory. The wins either came too easy or Scott Coker needs to bring in some new challenges.

Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, Luke Rockhold and Tyron Woodley all sounded bored and uninterested about their future with the promotion. That's bizarre, since one of them has successfully defended his title just one time and the other two are without titles.

Lawal hammered on Gegard Mousasi, his possible challenger for the vacant 205-pound title. He was also asked about a crossover fight with UFC and PRIDE legend Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. King Mo responded by calling him a bum, washed up and a B-level actor.

At least King Mo got his dander up a bit. Rockhold couldn't get past the fact that he fought a guy in Jardine, who'd never fought for the promotion before, or down at middleweight.

"He was pretty tough. He was stronger than I thought he'd be in the clinch. I thought I could dominate a little more in the clinch," shrugged Rockhold. "It was somewhat of a test. A lot of guys couldn't finish him and I told you guys I was going to do what nobody else had done."

Rockhold also gave a half-hearted endorsement of Tim Kennedy being a worthy opponent suggesting he wasn't a very good stand-up fighter.

- Coker seemed to the suggest that the Strikeforce to UFC crossovers will no longer happen.

"The crossovers happened when there was a gray area over whether the Showtime contract was going to be renewed," Coker said. "Now that that's out of the way we're committed to building this league. We're going to continue to do that. That means bringing great fighters here. I think that's what you're going to see all year."

- Woodley vehemently defended his winning fight approach. A media member asked the welterweight contender why he was "reluctant" to stand with Jordan Mein. 

"When you coming forward especially with that kind of range you just don't want to engage in crazy combinations. So when he got within my range, I thought I did what I needed to do, take him down, ground and pound him," Woodley said. "I got the Compustrike [numbers] in my pocket if you want to check it out. I don't think I was reluctant to strike with him."

- Lawal and Rockhold, training partners at AKA, have quickly become pals. King Mo warned that if they're fighting on the same card again in the future, it's an automatic two wins. King Mo threw out nicknames like "Cookies and Cream" or "Domino."

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Tate watches Strikeforce in Las Vegas (Getty Images)

- Strikeforce announced it'll be returning on Mar. 3 in Columbus, Oh. Four fights are officially booked for the Nationwide Arena. Ronda Rousey will challenge Miesha Tate for her 135-pound women's title. KJ Noons will battle Josh Thomson while Paul Daley faces Kazuo Misaki. Sarah Kaufman, another 135-pound contender will face Alexis Davis.

- Coker said the female title fight will not be the main event. The hope was that Strikeforce could finish off its heavyweight Grand Prix that night. Coker didn't sound optimistic about Daniel Cormier's broken hand being ready in time.

"We're waiting to see what happens with DC's hand. We can only wait a couple more days and then we have to make a move one way or the other," Coker said. "I saw an X-ray. And from I what I saw in the X-ray, it's definitely starting to heal, but  will he be ready by March 3rd? I'm not sure. I'm not a doctor. The fighter, once they hit something, they're going to know."

Coker stressed the point that he'd like to get the tournament finished now that it looks like it's going to extend beyond 12 months.

- Some in the media were surprised that Daley was still fighting under Zuffa management. Coker simply said sometimes fighters lose their cool in the heat of the moment, referencing the sucker punch that Daley landed on Josh Koscheck at UFC 113.

"Fighters become emotional sometimes and they say things. You know what? To me, this is a business. I think he's still under contract and they offered him to fight Misaki," Coker said. "You know fighters are emotional. Sometimes promoters are emotional and they come out and say some things they don't mean."

Daley was cut by Dana White, who said he'd never fight for the UFC again.

- Coker was asked about what's next for his lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. He'd like to see Melendez face Thomson for a third time.

"They should have a trilogy fight. Josh is a tough guy. Gilbert, to me, is the best fighter in the world in the lightweight division and he's gonna fight for Strikeforce," said Coker.

Thomson won the first meeting back in 2008 and Melendez took the second fight in 2009 via five-round unanimous decision.

Thomson didn't fight in 2011. His last bout in Dec. of 2010 resulted in a loss to Tatsuya Kawajiri. Kawajiri followed that win with a lopsided loss to Melendez. He's since dropped to 145 pounds where's he won two straight.

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