UFC Heavyweights Give Predictions for Daniel Cormier vs Josh Barnett
On Saturday night, Josh Barnett faces Daniel Cormier in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finals. The tournament was originally designed to crown a No. 1 contender for the heavyweight strap, but now the winner will fight a yet-to-be-named UFC heavyweight sometime in the future.
The matchup between Cormier and Barnett is interesting, as they're both very good wrestlers with punching power. While Cormier would have the advantage in wrestling, Barnett would have the clear advantage in submissions.
While the MMA world waits for the Grand Prix to reach a conclusion, fighters from the UFC's heavyweight division have given their thoughts and predictions for tomorrow's main event.
Junior dos Santos
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“They are both great fighters and this is a fight that could end very quickly for each guy. But Cormier is more explosive and has the better chances to end this early. It could be very exciting, but I think Cormier wins.”
As the UFC heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos will likely have to face the winner of the heavyweight Grand Prix at some point in his reign on top. I agree with his assessment that Cormier's punching power could bring this fight to an early conclusion.
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“I think Cormier takes this. I can’t see Barnett getting him to the ground, his wrestling is too strong. And on the feet I think Cormier has the power to end things. But with two top heavyweights, anything can happen. That’s why this division is so exciting - anyone who is world class can beat anyone else with one punch. You can’t say that about the lighter weight classes and that’s why heavyweight fights are so cool to watch.”
Frank Mir may be underestimating Barnett's wrestling if he thinks that he won't get the fight to the ground. While Barnett doesn't have the pedigree that Cormier has, he's still one of the strongest fighters when wrestling from the clinch.
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“I pick Daniel Cormier. Number one, because I train with him but also because he’s so hungry in this sport, I don’t think he will be denied. He was really raw when he came into our gym the first time a couple of years ago but he picked up everything a lot faster than most. He has dangerous strikes and I can’t see Josh getting him to the ground. Daniel’s wrestling is too good; I think he takes this fight and makes a statement about his future in the division.”
Cain Velasquez is one of Daniel Cormier's main training partners at American Kickboxing Academy, and they have been working together in the lead up to their respective fights. I can appreciate him backing his teammate and also believe he's correct in Cormier's potential within the heavyweight division.
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
“I think Cormier will win this fight and be the Grand Prix Champion. I was very surprised by him in our fight. I think he is too strong, too powerful in this fight. He punches very hard and his wrestling is very good. I think he will win inside the distance unless Josh Barnett gets this to the ground quickly.”
One-time Daniel Cormier opponent and soon to be UFC heavyweight Antonio Silva may have the best prediction for the fight since he's been in the cage with one of this weekend's fighters. If Cormier surprised him with his strength, it's possible that Josh Barnett will have trouble dealing with Cormier as well.
With all four UFC heavyweights picking Cormier, they may be setting themselves up for failure should Barnett come in and run through Daniel. Either way the fight promises to be exciting and will have real consequences for the heavyweight division.
All quotes were obtained from the UFC.
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