Next March, the Strikeforce organization will have likely its last heavyweight battle when Grand Prix finalists Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett meet in a pivotal affair.
Though both men could find themselves amongst the elite of the UFC heavyweight roster in the near future, this fight is important nonetheless as it serves as the culmination of an eight-man field, which included the likes of Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski, Alistair Overeem and Fedor Emelianenko, among others.
The prestige that this tournament carries is still prevalent and the winner will reassert themselves as one of the best fighters in their class.
Daniel Cormier was an Olympic level wrestler and for good reason.
Since transitioning to the mixed martial arts world, no man has been able to take down the touted grappler, though Cormier has enjoyed the laurels of his amateur background which allow him to take the fight anywhere he likes.
However, if there was ever a man that could challenge both Cormier's takedown and jiu-jitsu defense, it would be that Josh Barnett.
The Pride veteran has made a career of lulling opponents into his game, dominating men on the mat with his vicious dose of ground and pound, which opens them up for the submission finish.
In his 31 victories as a professional, Barnett's finishing rate is outstanding, having only gone to the judges on four occasions while submitting 19 opponents along the way.
The question remains, can Barnett take down the former Captain of the Olympic team?
If Cormier decides to bring the action to the mat, can the CSW fighter cinch a submission victory?
Given his experience and well-adept grappling skills, the advantage sways slightly in Barnett's favor.
Though his time in the sport has been short, Cormier has proven to be one of the more fluid kickboxers in the heavyweight division.
His time spent with the American Kickboxing Academy has paid off in spades, with his striking having improved by leaps and bounds since his inception into the mixed martial arts world in September of 2009.
This June, Cormier took on his toughest test to date when he was pitted against former UFC title challenger Jeff Monson. Cormier was able to land at will, landing crippling leg kicks and pin-point precision combinations which aided the heavyweight great in earning a decision win.
Next, Louisiana native took on Antonio Silva, filling in for an injured Alistair Overeem in the semifinal round. In a deftly and emphatic performance, Cormier knocked out the juggernaut heavyweight in less than four minutes of the opening round, courtesy of sharp hooks and a devastating uppercut that closed out the show.
Though Barnett is adept on his feet, he has not displayed the same seamless fluidity that Cormier possesses and coupled with his punching power, the AKA star is an imposing figure wherever the fight goes.
While the train of thought for the most part would be to favor the bigger and more experienced fighter, Cormier has shown that his potential can be realized and he on the verge of world renowned recognition with another signature performance.
His height disadvantage against Barnett, who stands four inches taller, can be Cormier's advantage given his lower level of gravity, making it harder for the submission grappling ace to bring the wrestling stud to the ground.
Cormier will keep Barnett honest on his feet and will stave off all takedown attempts from the veteran fighter. The longer the fight stays standing, the more it favors Cormier, who will take home the clear-cut decision victory.