The Strikeforce World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament begins in earnest this Saturday when Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko steps into the cage against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva.
Not only will the bout feature the Russian's first trip back to the arena since the monumental upset he suffered at the hands of Fabricio "Vai Cavalo" Werdum, but it will also mark the debut of one of the grand prix's favorites.
Along with Vai Cavalo and Alistair "Demolition Man" Overeem, the Last Emperor must be considered one of the top three choices to emerge from the scrum with hand held high.
His legend may have lost a little luster thanks to his first legitimate defeat, but only a little. Anytime Emelianenko makes an appearance on the mixed martial arts landscape, it is still BIG news.
Of course, Saturday's contest will throw some extra sizzle because of Strikeforce President Scott Coker's recent and numerous pronouncements that his organization's 265-pound division is the best in the world.
I'm not sure Coker ever directly referenced the three-letter 800-pound industry gorilla, but the implications of the statements are obvious.
The best of the biggest boppers call San Jose their headquarters, not the UFC's home turf of Las Vegas.
Whether that is true remains to be seen, but the best laid plan lists the upcoming eight-man tournament as the first line in Strikeforce's theorem.
Given the possible significance of the octet's imminent future, the group bears a closer examination and could there be a better place to start the inquiry than the striking department?