Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier will make his way to the UFC following his final Strikeforce fight against Dion Staring on Saturday night.
Cormier is currently seen as the top heavyweight outside of the UFC and one of the hottest, most decorated prospects in MMA. However, once he enters the world’s most famous MMA organization, his future will be brighter outside of the heavyweight division.
Tipping the scales at just over 235 pounds, the diminutive—compared to other heavyweights, at least—Cormier has been fighting bigger fighters while with Strikeforce, and while I don’t doubt that he could make a serious dent in the heavyweight division, his future is brighter cutting the weight and fighting men his size.
If able to cut the weight, Cormier will likely be near the front of the line for a title shot against Jon Jones. While Cormier could conceivably already be the front-runner for a shot at the heavyweight strap, the fact that his friend and long-time training partner Cain Velasquez currently holds the belt erases any chance that he would take the fight.
Cormier, 33, is not a young man despite being a relative newbie to MMA, so he will likely have to jump into the deep end. Being able to fight the top guys and potentially the champ early will be crucial to brightening his star with the casual UFC fanbase.
If he were to make the cut down, his world-class wrestling ability and heavy hands would be a welcomed sight for fans of the light heavyweight division.
Under the reign of Jon Jones, the division has fallen from its position as the deepest division in the UFC and become utterly stagnant, leading to one of the most egregious title shots in UFC history (Jones vs. Vitor Belfort at UFC 152).
Title fights with Lyoto Machida, Dan Henderson, Shogun Rua, and Alexander Gustafsson would also highly entertaining and incredible matchups.
What division should Cormier enter in the UFC?
Sure, "DC" could stay in the heavyweight division and fight the likes of Junior dos Santos, Frank Mir, and Fabricio Werdum. However, treading water in the UFC heavyweight division, where one punch can send you shooting down the totem pole, and while waiting for Cain to potentially lose, would be a waste of immense talent.
Cormier is an incredible talent that could be the next big star inside the UFC, but in order to have a bright future inside the Octagon, he will have to relive his wrestling days and cut some weight.