Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion Daniel Cormier recently told the media that he had finally committed to making the drop down to the light heavyweight division.
It's a move that has long been expected, since he and heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez are training partners, even though Cormier is currently the No. 2 ranked heavyweight contender, just behind former champ Junior dos Santos.
He says the move is coming, and he says he'll be down to 205 pounds by the end of the year. And these coming six months will allow him to get the weight off fairly slowly.
Trouble is, he wants one more fight at heavyweight, and that puts the promotion in an awkward spot.
Cormier is an elite heavyweight, who should fight fellow elite heavyweights, but the UFC can't afford to have Cormier top a fellow contender, only to abandon the division by 2014. They would lose two contenders that way.
But you can't put him up against an average or even good heavyweight, can you? For example, what purpose would a Roy Nelson/Mark Hunt vs. Daniel Cormier fight serve? Cormier would effortlessly get through both of them, unless Nelson or Hunt somehow landed a brutal strike early. If you're the UFC, you get nothing out of that fight.
Actually, there's not a matchup I can think of at heavyweight for Cormier that would benefit the UFC. Here's a list of fighters they simply can't (or at least shouldn't) send in against Cormier:
- Cain Velasquez
- Junior dos Santos
- Alistair Overeem
- Fabricio Werdum
- Antonio Silva*
- Frank Mir*
- Travis Browne
- Josh Barnett*
- Stipe Miocic
So that leaves (in order of likelihood):
- Roy Nelson (assuming he re-signs)
- Mark Hunt
- Stefan Struve
Anybody else in the division is either not well known, not good enough or too old. (Read: I don't want to see Cormier murder Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.)
Right now, the clear-cut answer to the question of whom Cormier should fight next is Roy Nelson—except he is currently not under contract, and he could bolt if the UFC doesn't give him a lucrative contract.
That leaves Hunt and Struve. The former is scary due to his power, but he's probably made his last run toward contention. Still, if he knocks out Cormier, you've got at least a minor disaster on your hands.
Meanwhile, Struve is still young (he's just 25) and could be a contender someday, considering his youth and experience. The UFC probably aren't too eager to send Cormier in there to put "The Skyscraper" down like Nelson and Hunt have.
Let's hope the UFC can bring Nelson back, if only because there are so few options for Cormier. If they aren't able to come to an agreement, Cormier needs to sit on the shelf until his light heavyweight debut.
*has already fought and lost to Cormier