Long before Zuffa, LLC purchased the promotion, all the way back to the days of its inaugural show in March 2006, Strikeforce has served as a breeding ground for potential UFC champions.
Many of those former Strikeforce standouts, like Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Nick Diaz, Cung Le and Dan Henderson, made the migration to the UFC shortly after Zuffa purchased the company from founder Scott Coker in March 2011.
In the wake of the departure of some of Strikeforce's biggest stars, a cluster of key players stepped up to shoulder the entertainment load and bring the company to the forefront of the MMA landscape.
Those fighters, like Daniel Cormier, Gilbert Melendez, Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, Gegard Mousasi, Josh Barnett and Tim Kennedy, among others, embodied the Strikeforce banner and did it with pride—akin to how Benson Henderson, Anthony Pettis, Joseph Benavidez and Donald Cerrone symbolized the WEC logo in their tenures with the organization before each joining the UFC.
With Strikeforce running its final show Saturday in San Jose, Calif., fighters like the aforementioned Cormier, Melendez, Rockhold, Souza and Mousasi will each soon find themselves in the advantageous position of awaiting a fight with an upper-echelon UFC opponent in their respective weight departments.
In the case of Cormier, Melendez and Rockhold, they could each soon get to experience something UFC newcomers rarely get to experience—a unification title bout.