The dust had barely settled from last night’s Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov fight card before Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier started thinking about their respective next fights — which will be against each other.
By defeating Antonio Silva via first round knockout, Cormier, a tournament alternate, advances to the Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix finals; Barnett earned his spot in the final round by submitting Sergei Kharitonov with an arm triangle in the first round. Both men turned in impressive performances and have interests piqued for their impending fight. They both also spoke with Showtime’s Heidi Androl after the fights and talked about the match-up.
“It’s gonna be a good fight, man,” Cormier predicted. “Josh presents a lot of different challenges and, honestly, since I was introduced into this tournament that’s the fight I’ve been training for. I’ve been training for Josh Barnett, because I figured he would get past Sergei and I need to improve my skills to where I’m able to compete with him. This guy’s a great heavyweight and I’m going to have to be on my game. There’s going to be a lot of standing unless I decide to take him down.”
While Cormier owns just nine pro fights to his credit, he possesses an Olympic-caliber wrestling pedigree and displays ever-improving striking thanks to his time spent training with Cain Velasquez and the rest of the crew at the American Kickboxing Academy. Barnett, on the other hand, is a veteran of close to forty professional fights and has a decorated history in both the UFC and Pride FC promotions. With both men coming off of a string of wins, looking better each time out, the fight promises to be an entertaining tilt (as much as these promises ever exist in MMA).
“I think he’s going to come feeling strong, feeling great about his stand-up, feeling great about everything and feeling very confident,” asserted Barnett. “You know, it’s just like Cormier said, I’ve been winning all my life, what’s going to change now? Same deal.”