December 19, 2011
With the new Strikeforce deal on Showtime, the lone casualty is going to be the heavyweight division.
UFC star Frank Mir doesn't look at the news as something sad, he's actually fired up about it. For Mir, it means 99 percent of the discussion about where the top heavyweight in the world resides should disappear.
"I think it's only a benefit to move them over to us," Mir said on the ESPN1100/98.9 FM's "MMA Insiders" show (9:15 mark). "I guess I have a bad taste in my mouth because of what happened when I first started my career. I had to always hear about 'oh, you guys are good, but the PRIDE guys would kick your butt.' And then that frustration of not being able to get to them."
Mir pointed out that when the elite of elite from PRIDE's heavyweight division eventually made its way to U.S.-based promotions, they struggled. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Fedor Emelianenko and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, the top three heavyweights during PRIDE's heyday, have combined for a 13-12 record since they made to transition around 2007.
"I don't want to hear that [who's the best discussion anymore]. I want to know that anybody in the division ... 'you think that you can beat me? Hey Joe Silva, is he clear? Okay cool, let's fight,'" said Mir.
Mir also spoke about the potential of younger guys like Daniel Cormier and Shane del Rosario, when he's healthy again. Co-host Kevin Iole and Mir are both confident that the UFC will welcome Josh Barnett into the fold as well. Throw in Antonio "Big Foot" Silva, Fabricio Werdum (rumored for return at UFC 143 against Roy Nelson), Sergei Kharitonov and Chad Griggs, and you've got a solid crew moving over. Also keep an eye on former LSU fullback Shawn Jordan. The squatty 250-pounder showed off sick athleticism in his last win over Lavar Johnson.
The Strikeforce big boys should be moving over immediately. Barnett and Cormier will meet for the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix title. Dana White, Scott Coker and Showtime's Stephen Espinoza said the winner will fight one more time and then the division is finished. We still wonder if that second heavyweight fight will ever happen. Regardless, the UFC heavyweight division gets some much needed depth and the probability of some damn good fights in 2012.
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