2009 was a great year of growth for consensus number two MMA promotion in the world right now, and they haven't slowed down for the beginning of 2010 with their eyes on two big names in mixed martial arts.
The first being the former number-two ranked heavyweight John Barnett. Barnett has fallen off the MMA radar since his failed drug test before his bout with Fedor Emelianenko, which was set to take place in August 2009.
This failed drug test left Affliction without a main event for what was to be their card, and after days of negotiations to find a replacement to face "The Last Emperor," they wound up closing their doors and cancelled the event.
Before his drug allegations, Barnett was on a four-fight win streak, defeating Hidehiko Yoshida, Jeff Monson, Pedro Rizzo, and Gilbert Yvel.
Provided that Barnett tests negative and stays clean, he could be a very valuable asset to Strikeforce's growing heavyweight division with Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum, and Brett Rogers all being potentially big fights for "The Baby Faced Assassin."
Also on the Strikeforce radar is former UFC lightweight standout Roger "El Matador" Huerta. Following his disappointing ending to his UFC career, dropping back-to-back decisions to Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard, Huerta seemingly had his mind set on devoting his time to his acting career, but it seems his plans may have changed.
This past Thursday night Huerta posted on his Twitter, "My manager @jeffclarkmma and I met with Scott Coker and Richard Chou with strikeforce on Monday"—later confirmed from multiple sources. Huerta would be a welcome addition to Strikeforce's lightweight Division who already have names like Josh Thompson, Gilbert Melendez, and Shinya Aoki.
Both Barnett and Huerta would fit nicely in the growing Strikeforce roster, and it all comes down to the purses. Both men are recognisable figures in mixed martial arts and won't fight for small amounts of money, but Scott Coker has locked down Emelianenko and Dan Henderson in negotiations, so there is a good chance we will be seeing Huerta or Barnett headlining a CBS card in 2010.