Who is that to the right of Cung Le?
During Saturdays broadcast of Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg the people spoke: they want a middleweight tournament, not a lightweight tourney like I voted for. The question isn’t where it will go down – to my knowledge none of the fighters are guilty of rampant steroid use. The real question (past ‘will they actually follow through with it this time’) is who would be included?
Let’s take a second and remember the last Strikeforce middleweight tournament that went down in 2007: it featured Sean Salmon, Jorge Santiago, Falaniko Vitale and Trevor Prangley. Considering the only guy from that era still fighting for Strikeforce is the one who just lost to Roger Gomes at 205, I think we can do better this time around.
After the jump: a look at the current Strikeforce middleweight roster and how they’d fit into a 185 pound bracket.
- Ronaldo Souza: The Champion, and according to the precedent started by the heavyweight tournament, fair game. Plus he is no stranger to the format, having come one upkick away from winning the DREAM middleweight tournament.
- Dan Henderson: If he loses to Rafael Cavalcante in March, he can always come back to middleweight and gun for a title here. If he wins, he can try to recreate the belt twofer he had going on in PRIDE. Either way, it’d be cool.
- Tim Kennedy: The dude will fight anyone, including people with assault weapons.
- Jason Miller: Same as Tim Kennedy … he just wants to fight and a tournament would be a good way to deal with all the douches trying to duck him.
- Robbie Lawler: He’s gonna be in limbo now that he’s competed for the belt and come up short. A tournament run is just what the doctor ordered to make people forget they already know exactly where he stands in the Strikeforce rankings
- Cung Le: Doubtful since he’s gone Carano for 2011 but it’d be cool to see him in the cage again.
- Matt Lindland: Every tournament can use some cannon fodder, and Matt’s inclusion can be framed as an old legend making one last run.
- Kazou Misaki: It’d be nice to add some Asian flavor to the mix, plus he’s got cred as the Pride 2006 Middleweight Grand Prix Winner. His last few fights have come with mixed results but his last Strikeforce fight resulted in Joe Riggs getting KTFO’d. That’s gotta count for something. Even a little something!
- Joey Villasenor: Not sure if he’s even still employed by Strikeforce but he’s always game.
- Scott Smith: Throw him in there for fun. I’m sure he’d upset someone before inevitably getting outclassed
- Nick Diaz: Shit, he is a featured Middleweight in EA Sports MMA. Plus we could see the long awaited Mayhem vs Diaz fight. All we need is for Scott Coker to grow some balls and pony up some dough.
- Frank Shamrock: Frank Shamrock came an inch away from stepping into the cage with Kimbo after his brother Ken pulled out a few hours before the fight was set to happen. That shows you how game the dude is. Come on, buddy … just one more time … for the pay check.
- Who ever else they can scrounge up like Benji Radach, Luke Rockhold, Ninja Rua, Matt Horwich, Dong Sik Yoon, Jesse Taylor, Thales Leites, Zelg Galesic.