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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix continues on Saturday night after a four month break between quarterfinal bouts. Before the tournament even began, one talking point about the ultimate outcome was the desire to see the winner then challenge the UFC Heavyweight Champion to determine who the number one heavyweight in the world was.
Now that Strikeforce has been purchased by Zuffa, pitting the winner of the Grand Prix against the UFC Heavyweight Champion seems like a much more realistic plan for all involved.
Strikeforce Heavyweight Alistair Overeem, who faces Fabricio Werdum in his quarterfinal bout on Saturday night, sees it as the most logical next step, but he's not overly concerned with that next step.
"It's all about achieving a goal, and then you look toward the next goal," Overeem said in an interview with MMAJunkie.com. "This is my next goal. The other [titles] are very important to me. Nobody can ever take them away. But this is the next thing. After this tournament, there will be something else.
"After this tournament, there will be another goal. I don't know what that goal is, but if you think about it, and I'm not occupied with it, but the winner of the tournament should fight the UFC champion. That sounds like a logical next step."
But regardless of whether the tournament winner gets to face the UFC Heavyweight Champ, Overeem believes the winner should still be considered the best heavyweight in the world.
"I believe that the eight best fighters have been invited for this tournament," he said. "Whoever wins this tournament had the right to call themselves No. 1 in the world."
Penick's Analysis: The winner of the tournament will have a very legitimate claim at #2, but the number one slot will be held by either Junior Dos Santos or Cain Velasquez when this tournament is all said and done. The winner of the Grand Prix should meet whichever of them holds the belt at that point, and then they can take that number one spot from them. Though this Grand Prix has a lot of talented heavyweight fighters, and the winner will have defeated three good opponents, but JDS and Velasquez are fighting for the number one spot in November, and they'll keep it until it is taken from them.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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