Daniel Cormier wasn’t involved in the original eight-person Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. However, by the end of a five-round war with Josh Barnett, he had the belt secured around his waist.
Cormier defeated Barnett via decision, winning the grand prix in the main event of Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier from San Jose, California.
The former two-time Olympian replaced Alistair Overeem in the field, and took advantage, defeating Antonio Silva and Barnett. He is now 10-0 in his career.
“It means everything to beat somebody like Josh Barnett,” Cormier said. “I have lost a lot of people in my life, this is all for them. My daughter, my dad, my family; it means the world to me.”
Cormier, who seemed to be in shock over his performance against Barnett, credited his teammates at the San Jose-based American Kickboxing Academy for his performance, saying, “Cain Velasquez, Luke Rockhold, Mike Kyle, those guys kick my ass every day. That means I can go with anybody else in the world.”
“DC” didn’t let a seven-inch reach disadvantage hamper his offense, out-striking Barnett 126-80. Cormier also was 4 of 5 on takedowns and hit on 21 of 26 leg strikes.
Barnett, who had won eight straight, fell to 31-6 in his career. He mentioned that he likely suffered some kind of broken bone when he delivered a left hook on Cormier in the first round.
“I broke the living crap out of my hand,” Barnett said. “It was a good left-hook, see him hurting, but it hurt me more. There was no way I was going to stop fighting; I was going to make him earn it. Today Daniel was better.”