On the horn:
"It means everything for me to beat somebody like Josh Barnett," Cormier said post fight. "I've lost a lot of people in my life and this is for all of them."
With an incredible display of fast striking, technical footwork, and experienced wrestling, Daniel Cormier (10-0) defeated Josh Barnett to win the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix on May 19 by unanimous decision. However, with only those two fighters in the dissolved Strikeforce heavyweight division, in a display of immense apathy, the Showtime network still intends to hold each fighter to the last fight on their contract. But beating Barnett (31-6), who was on an eight fight winning streak, while incorporating his striking game more than seen before was something Cormier was proud of.
"I owe (my striking) to my team mates, Cain Velasquez, Luke Rockhold, Mike Kyle, those guys kick my ass everyday. That means I can go with anybody else in the world," Cormier said post fight. "This is something a year ago I never thought I'd be able to do."
With literally nobody else to take on either Barnett or Cormier, the only two options for another heavyweight bout lie either outside of the organization or in a rematch. I think it's obvious that nobody wants to see the admittedly impressive climax of the catastrophe that was the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix repeat itself for another 25 minutes. So the only option is to cut a deal with an outside fighter for a meaningless exposition fight while both Barnett and Cormier wait around to join the UFC. Meanwhile the guy Cormier knocked out earlier in the tournament, Antonio Silva, takes on a former UFC champion at UFC 146. While other articles have proposed potential fighters for Cormier, I think that's all beside the point. There is no outside the UFC worthy of fighting Cormier available right now, and Zuffa fighters all must sign exclusive contracts with their companies. The only possible reason I can see for a promotion to keep fighters in a division that doesn't exist is so that they cannot fight elsewhere.
Cormier showed his worth as championship material, but Showtime will waste that talent by keeping him out of the cage for as long as they want. Showtime has become the preschooler that hordes his action figures in the corner not because he wants to play with them, but because he wants to own them. As much as I love watching Cormier perform, I wouldn't spend my money on a pay-per-view that pitted him against some "scrub". For one, I object to the very premise of such a fight, and two, I would be completely disinterested in seeing Cormier lay out the poor man. The champion doesn't just need a win, he needs an opponent that will take him to the next level. Even Barnett spoke out about the difficulty getting these fights together.
"You can't make fights happen. The only way you can make a fight happen is if you go and track the guy down in the bathroom and say, 'Alright, it's going to happen,' and start swinging on somebody," Barnett said. "Otherwise you've got management, you've got the promoters; you've got all these different factors that can come in and nix a match up. So why care anymore?"
Cormier came in as an alternate and dominated the tournament, and as a result he will be trapped in a contract that will give him nothing. It's very sad to realize that the losers of the tournament will see more immediate success than the presumed "winners". Showtime needs to show a little decency and let these two fighters move on to better things with their careers. Instead, we're going to see the champion wait around for his last chance to do his time in the hexagon, while his fallen opponents rise above him on a national level. During this wait I implore fans to not forget about Cormier. He deserves to fight the best in the world, not to sit atop an empty division.