Strikeforce: What's Next for the Winners of Marquardt vs. Saffiedine?
It's finally over. After years of giving fans excellent fights and memorable moments, Strikeforce has closed its doors after another excellent Showtime-televised card.
Most of the winners on the card will be moving on to the UFC, and so now it's up to us to decide who we'd like to see them face next. Daniel Cormier made it perfectly clear who he wants in his next fight, but what about the rest of the winners?
Let's wipe off the old crystal ball and take a look, shall we?
Ronaldo Souza vs. Chris Weidman
Ronaldo Souza made quick work of UFC veteran Ed Herman, which proved that he deserves to come into the UFC as something more than a middle-of-the-pack middleweight.
For his UFC debut, I'd like to see Souza face Chris Weidman. Souza's a former Strikeforce champion and is still one of the most dangerous fighters in the division, and Weidman's star has never been brighter.
It's a good matchup, both for Souza and for Weidman.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Forrest Griffin
Gegard Mousasi may not be spoken of in the hushed whispers of old, but his win over Mike Kyle showed that he still has something to offer.
I think he has enough potential that I'd like to match him up with a name-value guy, and Forrest Griffin fits the bill. Griffin doesn't really want to be a title contender, which puts him in the role of gatekeeper going forward.
Mousasi is one of the guys that will be trying to charge through that gate, so why not make the fight happen?
Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne
To be fair, we don't know if Josh Barnett will ultimately end up in the UFC. If his legal team can't come to an agreement with Zuffa, Barnett's next tour stop might be back in his old pro wrestling haunting grounds in Japan.
But I hope he signs with the UFC, and I hope we see him in the Octagon. He deserves to be there as long as he stays away from the performance-enhancing drugs, and it'd be a shame if he never goes back.
If he does, I'd pair him up with Travis Browne. Sure, Browne lost his last fight to Antonio Silva, but he injured himself early in that fight and was never the same. He's still one of the most interesting prospects in that division, and testing himself against Barnett makes a lot of sense.
And if Barnett can continue winning and continue his pro wrestling promos after the fights, there's a real chance he could end up as a big star.
Daniel Cormier vs. Frank Mir
Daniel Cormier enters into the UFC as one of the hottest commodities in mixed martial arts. And unless Alistair Overeem beats Cormier's teammate Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight title, it's almost a lock that we'll see Cormier move to light heavyweight to face Jon Jones.
But Cormier doesn't want to wait that long for his next fight. What he wants is to face Frank Mir, and he wants to do it on the April 20 UFC on Fox 7 card in San Jose. After that?
"I'm gonna let Jon defend his belt on April 27, and then I'm gonna kick his ass in the fall," Cormier said after the fight.
Cormier knows exactly what he wants, and he used his post-fight interview time to hype up his next two fights. All fighters should learn from what Cormier did Saturday night, both in the cage and on the microphone.
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Winner of Demian Maia/Jon Fitch
I'd already started writing a bit about how Nate Marquardt should face the winner of the Rory MacDonald vs. Carlos Condit fight. But yeah, that one's out the window after Tarec Saffiedine dominated Marquardt to capture the Strikeforce welterweight title in the final bout in promotional history.
So what's next for Saffiedine? He's not an instant contender in the UFC's welterweight division, but he deserves a top-10 opponent. The winner of the UFC 156 bout between Jon Fitch and Demian Maia seems to make perfect sense, and they'd also present interesting matchups. I'd love to see how Saffiedine fares against those guys, and the timing makes sense.
And with that, we close the book on Strikeforce. It's a sad night, but it's also an interesting one because we're going to see a few really exciting fights coming up in the near future.