Josh Barnett has said he believes that the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finals will be between himself and Daniel Cormier.
Barnett, who meets Sergei Kharitonov in the main event of Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov this Saturday, predicted Cormier to defeat Antonio Silva, the other semifinal bout.
“Bigfoot,” though, is actually rooting for Barnett to win his fight and set up a finale between the two.
“I’m cheering for him,” Silva said. “Unlike him, because he’s a guy who wants Cormier to win. Also, I read an interview on which he said he’s fighting Cormier on the finals. Unlike him, I want him to win.
“First because he’s a better fighter, and second I want to fight him on the finale. I guess he doesn’t want to fight me. He must be crossing his fingers so that Daniel Cormier beats me, but I won’t make it easy on him.”
Barnett was also critical of Silva’s skills, saying his size – he stands 6-feet-4 and weights just under the 265-pound limit – is his only asset.
“That’s funny, each one is better in one area. (Junior) dos Santos’ advantage is his hands, which are heavy. (Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira’s advantage is his ground game, which is pretty sharp,” Silva said. “Each one is good in one area. He said my advantage is my size, so let it be. Let’s go there and show him sometimes size ain’t just good do it.”
Silva (16-2) was forced to make changes after Cormier (8-0) was signed to replace Alistair Overeem as his opponent when Overeem pulled out.
“Everything’s changed. I was fighting a striker, then they told me it’d be Daniel, who’s a good athlete, has fought eight times and won every single one,” Silva said. “He’s a wrestler, a guy who knows how to bang, has good takedowns. We didn’t have the chance to see him fighting on the ground yet, so…I’m doing great on the stand-up game. Dos Santos gave me many tips, too.”
The semifinal winners will meet in early 2012 to crown the grand prix champion, barring any serious injuries by the survivors.