When the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix kicked off last year, Daniel Cormier was not included in the opening bracket.
Josh Barnett, Brett Rogers, Sergei Kharitonov, Andrei Arlovski, Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Alistair Overeem, and Fabricio Werdum had that honor — not Daniel Cormier. Cormier was a tournament alternate, on standby to fill in for anyone injured or otherwise unable to compete in the tournament.
Now, the former U.S. Olympian stands poised to win the entire tournament.
Stepping in to replace Alistair Overeem when the tournament favorite was fired from Strikeforce and signed by the UFC (by the same bosses), Cormier floored Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva to enter into the finals against Josh Barnett. Speaking with MMAWeekly recently, Cormier discussed how much it would mean for him to win the tourney now.
“It would be right up there with any one of the biggest things I’ve done in my life,” Cormier said. “Just because of how special it really is and how much it means to me. Not only because all those guys was in it, but because of Strikeforce, man.
“When I first started they gave me a chance. My very first fight was televised. Showtime, they’ve been so good to me. It would mean so much to me to actually win this tournament and be the champion of the biggest thing this organization and this network have ever done. So, it would rank up there with any of my greatest accomplishments.”
Cormier and Barnett meet for all the marbles on May 19 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, where they’ll headline Strikeforce 40.