Ignore the headline and just imagine Dion Staring vs. Daniel Cormier.
I cannot ignore the fact that this looks like a cakewalk for Daniel Cormier. Why shouldn't everyone else?
Staring is a heavyweight who doesn't possess one-punch knockout power, doesn't have stellar striking skills and relies on getting his opponent to the mat, where he can grind out a win.
Cormier is an Olympic-level wrestler with much improved striking who has defeated Antonio Silva and Josh Barnett in his last two fights. Cormier has been applauded as the next great heavyweight contender by many fans and writers alike.
But where many see his strengths, I see a possible weakness.
The hype thrust upon Cormier has been tremendous, and it isn't a secret that he is looking forward to the competition in the UFC.
So much so that he is already considering his next UFC heavyweight opponent or deciding if he wants to fight for the UFC light heavyweight championship.
Cormier is undoubtedly going to be in the UFC for his next fight, whether it's against Frank Mir or Jon "Bones" Jones. Cormier has shown the ability to be a top-level talent without needing an additional fight in Strikeforce.
There is only one problem: Dion Staring has been a very overlooked opponent. While many consider him to be a stepping stone for Cormier, he is a relatively unknown fighter who could shake up the landscape of the MMA rankings with a win.
What will be the outcome?
Staring is a fighter who shouldn't be taken lightly in the most important fight of Daniel Cormier's career. If Cormier doesn't win, he will take a giant step backward. At his age, that is something he cannot afford to do.
Staring is a Dutch army veteran who has never been knocked out as an MMA professional. He will be a mentally tough opponent with the opportunity of a lifetime in front of him.
That makes him very dangerous.
Staring has a decent overhand right and prefers to clinch as he works to get his opponent to the mat. He has also shown a well-rounded arsenal of weaponry with wins by submission and knockout.
Now training with the Blackzilians, he is gaining experience and should be prepared to take on Daniel Cormier in the final Strikeforce event. The high skill level of his training partners will undoubtedly help in his preparation.
Most importantly, Staring has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. One victory could land him a UFC contract and take all the hype away from Cormier.
Staring knows that there has been more attention on Cormier's first fight in the UFC than on the upcoming fight with Staring. If Cormier hasn't put in a fully focused training camp, that might be the only advantage Staring needs to play spoiler.
The odds will be heavily against him, but Staring may have all the advantage he needs to achieve a victory.