During a recent appearance on MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker shed a bit of light on the slightly tangled Strikeforce heavyweight title picture and revealed who he believes could be next for Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem.
It was widely planned that Fedor Emelianenko would challenge Overeem for his title after he fought Fabricio Werdum this past June, that bout being little more than a formality. Werdum threw a wrench into those plans when he submitted Emelianenko in the first round and his status as new number one contender (unofficially) further complicates things in that he will likely be out until early 2011 with an elbow injury. Coker had indicated previously that he would still be interested in promoting a Fedor-Overeem match despite Emelianenko’s loss but that no longer seems to be the case.
“Fabricio (Werdum) will not be ready until the beginning of next year so I’m not sure who he’ll be fighting next because of the time he’ll be taking off,” Coker said of Overeem’s next title defense. “Hopefully we’ll have Overeem back in the cage in October. Against who, we don’t know. It might be ‘Bigfoot’ Silva [but] the heavyweight division hasn’t been determined and we’re still having ongoing dialogue with M-1. That should flesh out here pretty soon and once we come to a deal with them on when (Fedor will) fight, who he’ll fight, and with Fabricio out, I think the rest of the division will kind of unfold itself before the end of the year. I don’t think [Emelianenko vs. Overeem] will happen this year.”
Coker’s comments reflect the currently mixed up atmosphere surrounding Strikeforce’s heavyweight division as very little besides a possible Overeem return date can be extracted from what he said. “Bigfoot” Silva is currently 1-1 in his last two, having rebounded off of a loss to Werdum with a win over Andrei Arlovski. Considering the relatively shallow pool of heavyweight fighters to draw from on Strikeforce’s roster, Silva could be the best option to face Overeem next if Strikeforce is indeed committed to getting Overeem in the cage before year’s end.