When Frank Mir went down with an injury and had to pull out of a scheduled tilt with Daniel Cormier at the Nov. 3 Strikeforce event, officials began the hunt for a replacement.
Those options largely appeared to be UFC crossover guys, much like Mir.
Except not that many people want to fight Daniel Cormier, on account of his being a remarkable athlete with Olympic-level wrestling and striking that does serious damage.
And so it is that Dana White, living in a weird purgatory running the UFC and having to be worried about Strikeforce from time to time as well, has to consider all his options.
If guys on his roster aren’t willing to slug it out with Cormier before he makes the jump to the UFC and immediately becomes an impact player, perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere.
That elsewhere? That might just come in the form of former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia.
Sylvia, the often out-of-shape, Mohawk-clad, uncool-sideburns-owning big man from Maine, has been begging for a crack at making his way back to the world’s top promotion. It could be that circumstances are conspiring in his favour for just that.
Initially, there were reports that Sylvia was the one to fight Cormier. Those were quickly and aggressively refuted by White, who went on to announce that it was actually Mir who’d leave the UFC temporarily to mix it up with the former Olympian.
Now, with Mir out and no one else stepping up to take a fight that’s only a month away, he may have to go back and reconsider his options.
And Sylvia, he may just have to get to work on getting down towards 265 pounds if he hasn’t already.
The fact is that Sylvia has a bit of a name, and no matter how bad the division was when he was king, he’ll always be able to claim “former UFC heavyweight champion” as an accomplishment. If he comes in and fights Cormier as that former champion, it’s a win for everyone involved.
He gets his moment back in the sun, likely to be repaid with a UFC fight as a thank-you for helping out the promotion.
If he wins, he’s a feel-good story and he derails one of the more hyped guys to come along at heavyweight in a while.
If Cormier wins, he beats a former UFC champion, and that former champion loses no credibility because he fought on short notice and no one thought he’d win anyway.
Regardless of the winner, the UFC has something to talk about: the next big thing, Daniel Cormier, battering a former champion, or a former champion lost on the regional circuit for years making an against-all-odds thrust back into the biggest show in the game.
Realistically, the UFC could do a lot worse than Sylvia at this stage in the game. Every day that they don’t have someone is a day closer to not finding someone, because people are just plain not lining up to fight Cormier.
Sylvia’s got nothing to lose and the good sense to know as much. If he can make the weight and Dana White can put his own thoughts and opinions on the back burner long enough to get a deal done, Sylvia-Cormier is not a bad way to patchwork a main event for a promotion that’s dying anyway.
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