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Video analysis: Strikeforce fighters want UFC champ, will it happen?

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

Nick Diaz is set to make the jump to the UFC in October. Strikeforce heavyweight fighters like Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett have made it clear they want in as well. Most of the fighters in Strikeforce's heavyweight Grand Prix say the victor in the tournament should get an immediate shot at the UFC heavyweight king early in 2012.

Is that possible?

During the UFC 131 prefight press conference, Yahoo! Sports' lead MMA writer Kevin Iole asked Dana White about the winner of the Strikeforce heavyweight GP getting an immediate shot at the UFC champ. The UFC president seemed surprised by the question and was non-committal.

Iole joined us this week on video and said the Strikeforce vs. UFC champ showdown makes sense and will probably happen, but Zuffa also has to be careful in managing its relationship with Showtime, the current broadcast partner for the smaller promotion.

If he wins this grueling tournament, Overeem wants the UFC king next.{ysp:more}

"It's all about achieving a goal, and then you look toward the next goal," Overeem told the MMA media in Dallas. "This is my next goal. [...]
"After this tournament, there will be another goal. I don't know what that goal is, but if you think about it, and I'm not occupied with it, but the winner of the tournament should fight the UFC champion. That sounds like a logical next step."

Overeem's opponent on Saturday, Fabricio Werdum, has the same goal in mind.

"If I win this Grand Prix, I will count the titles," Werdum said. "I want to be the champ of this Grand Prix and defeat the champ of UFC."

The current UFC champ Cain Velasquez is looking forward to taking on the best from Strikeforce.

"Those guys are great, top level guys," Velasquez said earlier this year. "I'm glad that the UFC can finally, later down the road match everybody together so we can have a true No. 1 champion. I want to fight the best guys and those are the best guys, too."

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