Strikeforce heavyweight champion and K-1 Grand Prix champion, Alistair Overeem expressed interest in fighting the UFC heavyweight champion, assuming he rises above all his fellow competitors in Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix this year, during Tuesday’s press conference.
“That definitely is my plan, but let’s take it one step at a time,” Overeem told reporters. “I’m taking this fight very serious, if you look at both of our papers, this is a very exciting fight. Fabricio has been incredible the last couple years, and me myself I’ve not been sitting still. It’s going to be an incredible fight.”
After Zuffa purchased Strikeforce, the floodgates of opportunity presented itself to the hungry fighters and fans, only to dry up after UFC president Dana White declared his infamous statement: “Business as usual.”
But now, the dam suffered serious cracks to its wall in the last week after White made an equally intriguing declaration about who would be next in line for welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre’s gold strap.
The quick search went beyond the UFC’s organic 170-pound line up, recruiting from their parent company’s newly acquired roster. A deal was struck with Strikeforce’s welterweight title holder Nick Diaz to challenge GSP in a champ vs. champ showdown this October.
You can bet Alistair Overeem is not the only high profiled, non-UFC competitor aiming to break into the big leagues to prove their worth. In fact, this hybrid mixture between the premiere MMA companies seems to be in full stride.
Another intriguing development was brought to headlines after the UFC announced Jason “Mayhem” Miller as an opposing coach to Michael Bisping in the next installment of The Ultimate Fighter.
Big things are happening across boundaries that were once deeply ingrained in the isolated MMA world of yesteryear. The future is wide open for fighters and fans, alike, who should embrace the crossover battles we wouldn’t have normally seen.
As long as the UFC is dedicated to orchestrating the fights people want to see, them posing as a monopoly-driving entity should not scare people.
Then again, only when man has tasted absolute power, does his true intentions surface. But, as the empirical evidence suggests—despite the haters’ protest—Dana White has done incredible things for the sport and will continue to do so.
Everybody can’t be a winner as a result of these crossover headlines, though. Now that the GSP vs. Diaz contract is official, keep your eyes peeled for the “Great Migration” into the UFC by all the top guys from Strikeforce (or from anywhere really), the only ones with selling power left.
Eventually, the San Jose-based organization will be on its deathbed once all its talent has been extracted by the glamorous lure of the big stage, the only viable opportunity to make serious money and get proper exposure.
Maybe in hindsight, this will serve as a blueprint the UFC will use to slowly fold Strikeforce to fill the slots surely created by the vast expansion they are now experiencing.
Is there any real reason to keep Strikeforce afloat if it starts becoming an obstacle in the UFC’s plans to put on big fights?
Putting them down like the old beloved family golden retriever riddled with arthritis and tumors, when the time is right, seems like a no-brainer.
If the buyout signaled the beginning of the end, GSP vs. Diaz was the first nail in the coffin, signing Mayhem Miller to coach TUF was the varnish and having either Overeem and/or Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez vacate their respective titles to flock to the octagon would be the last breath before flat lining.
Basically, losing one more star—whether that is a remaining champion or Fedor Emelianenko—would be it for Strikeforce, for all practical terms.
The domino effect may very well be in full swing as you’re reading this article, but as fans of the sport and great fights are watching, the UFC taking over the driver’s seat in the MMA market is not necessarily a bad thing.
Unless you have qualms about watching champions fight at the highest stage, dream fights unfold in a timely manner, having consecutive stacked cards monthly, the death of Strikeforce should be an event to celebrate rather than mourn.
Here’s to the future and the hope it brings fighters like Alistair Overeem, Cain Velasquez, Big Foot Silva, Junior Dos Santos, Gilbert Melendez, Frankie Edgar, Jacare Souza, Demian Maia, Jason Miller, Chael Sonnen, Jon Jones, Dan Henderson, King Mo Lawal and Rampage Jackson together under the same banner and cage, to blow the minds of fans memorable bouts for years to come.