When I watched Gegard Mousasi blow through Babalu Sobral on the Strikeforce show I was relieved to see that the promotion was getting another star created on what amounted to a huge show. Now with the news that Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is on his way to the UFC the realization is setting in for me that Mousasi has nobody to fight. There is talk that Showtime is going to be running 12 MMA cards in 2010 which means that Strikeforce needs their champions to headline cards with some regularity.
One only has to look at the last edition of the USA Today/SB Nation Rankings at 205 to see how few legitimate matchups there are. Mousasi beat then #10 Sobral leaving the only non-UFC ranked fighters as #17 Vladimir Matyushenko (a ratings disaster), #20 Sokoudjou (last seen by the American audience getting run out of the UFC, also 1-3 at 205 since his PRIDE run), #23 Muhammed Lawal (a potentially appealing option, but one without much American name value), and #25 Trevor Prangley (a ratings black hole).
So the question is...what now?
Does Strikeforce have the ability to make any compelling fights happen at 205? Should Mousasi move up to heavyweight where there are some interesting potential fights? Or does the promotion just have a star that they can't really use to draw any sort of viewers?
I, for one, would be really interested to see Gegard test himself at heavyweight against a guy like Andrei Arlovski while Strikeforce tries to build up a few fighters into legitimate challengers to his belt. Anything to keep him in the public eye beating people that can help make him the star that he deserves to be.
Update by Brent Brookhouse: Thanks to BE reader sonofapsycho for reminding me that Matyushenko is also back in the UFC, so cross one more potential opponent off the list.