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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Though Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem are the two names currently being bandied about as challengers atop the UFC's heavyweight division for Junior dos Santos, there's another man who will be entering the organization soon that wants to be in that mix.
Strikeforce Heavyweight World Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier has one fight remaining in Strikeforce, a bout with former UFC Champion Frank Mir that will take place either late in October or the beginning of November. He's wholly confident in getting past that challenge, and if and when he does, he hopes the UFC takes note.
"I want to throw my name into the hat, if I'm able to get past Frank Mir," Cormier said in an interview with MMA Fight Corner. "Hey guys don't forget about me over here. I've been chuggin along and if I get through this fight, that's three top ten guys in a row. I should be in line for a belt. I should get a shot at either of those divisions. Hey Dana and Lorenzo, don't forget about me over here. If I win this fight, give me a shot."
Cormier references two divisions because a move to light heavyweight could be in order for him. That depends on his friend and teammate Cain Velasquez, who will be facing dos Santos on Dec. 29 for the title. Should Velasquez retain the belt, Cormier will not be looking to fight him, and in that case a move to 205 lbs. - not to mention a fight against current Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones - would be very appealing.
"Let's see what happens. A lot of things are going to be in play," Cormier said. "If I come over to the UFC as the number one contender and Cain's the Heavyweight Champion, then I have some things to think about. But if somebody else is holding that belt, then yea, I'm gonna stay up at heavyweight."
"[But] standing across the cage from that guy (Jones) would be great for me. I'd love to do [that] at some point in my career. Even if I am maybe the Heavyweight Champion and there's a chance to make a super fight, we could figure something out him and I, because I would not back down from that opportunity."
For any of these scenarios to happen, though, Cormier's first got to get past Mir. This is a fight he's very much looking forward to in and of itself, but he's hoping Strikeforce will make it even sweeter by upping the stakes ever so slightly.
"I respect Frank a ton, man," Cormier said. "I think Frank Mir is one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. I think his record shows that he's probably one of the most dangerous submission threats that the heavyweight division has ever seen. I respect Frank. I know that it's an uphill battle for me going into this fight and it's going to be tough. But you know what? This is why I fight. I fight high level competition and Frank is exactly what I need at this point in my career."
"I would like it to be for the Strikeforce Championship because I'd like to actually put that belt on my mantle too - if I'm lucky enough to beat Frank and retire as the last Strikeforce Champion. I think it should be for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Title. If they find it within themselves to make it for the belt, I'd be very pleased."
Penick's Analysis: I don't think they'll make the Cormier-Mir bout for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship, as it'd be a mostly meaningless distinction. The fight more than likely will be a five-round main event as the headliner, but the title doesn't have any bearing when it will have been vacant for a year and both fighters will be heading to the UFC afterward anyway. This fight will essentially be a UFC heavyweight bout, just contested inside Strikeforce's cage. Cormier should be in line for either a title shot or a No. 1 contender fight when he makes his UFC debut, provided he defeats Mir, and if he does make the drop to light heavyweight he's immediately the most credible challenger to Jones' 205 lb. Title. He's still a more than viable challenger at heavyweight, but he could be massively dangerous at 205 as well.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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