Scott Coker mentioned in the TapouT radio show yesterday that there will be a press conference in Japan regarding a new alliance with DREAM that could potentially bring a large amount of overseas fighters into the mix with Strikeforce's roster of talent. This has been a bit overlooked in all the Strikeforce discussions, but it matters due to the potential for booking the crossover battles between Japanese and North American fighters that many fans have craved for quite some time.
Not only are there bouts that can happen that are relevant within today's ranks, but even matches of MMA legends that could potentially be made between the two promotions. Think about some of these bouts: Frank Shamrock vs. Kazushi Sakuraba, Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis, Josh Thomson vs. Joachim Hansen/Shinya Aoki/Ribeiro/Kikuno... the list goes on.
The potential is endless, and while these fights may not be the most unbelievable battles to hit your television, the prospect of such an alliance only helps the sport build better fights for the fans. So, how do the pools of fighters look?
Lightweight: Andre Dida, Katsunori Kikuno, Vitor Ribeiro, Shinya Aoki, Joachim Hansen, Gesias Calvancante, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Daisuke Nakamura
Welterweight: Marius Zaromskis, Hayato Sakurai, Jason High, Andre Galvao, Tarec Saffiedine
Middleweight: Paulo Filho, Melvin Manhoef. Jesse Taylor, Dong Sik Yoon, Jason "Mayhem" Miller, Ronaldo Souza, Murilo Rua, Riki Fukuda, Zelg Galesic, Andrews Nakahara, Kazushi Sakuraba
Light Heavyweight: Rameau Soukodjou
Heavyweight: Sergei Kharitonov
Lightweight: Josh Thomson, Gilbert Melendez, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Rodrigo Damm, Yves Edwards, Jorge Gurgel, Conor Heun, Billy Evangelista, Fabricio Camoes, Lyle Beerbohm, Malapeit, Mike Aina
Welterweight: Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Andre Galvao, Joe Riggs, Duane Ludwig, Dennis Hallman, Phil Baroni, Tyron Woodley, Ross Ebanez, Luke Stewart
Middleweight: Robbie Lawler, Scott Smith, Cung Le, Jake Shields (MW or WW), Jorge Santiago, Nick Diaz (MW or WW), Frank Shamrock, Benji Radach, Joey Villasenor, Cyborg Santos, Terry Martin, Tim Kennedy, Luke Rockhold
Light Heavyweight: Renato "Babalu" Sobral, Gegard Mousasi, Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante, Kevin Randleman, Mike Whitehead, Ralek Gracie, Bobby Southworth, Mike Kyle, Jarred Hamman, Paoi Suganuma, Aaron Rosa, Jaime Fletcher, Wayne Cole
Heavyweight: Shane Del Rosario, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Brett Rogers, Roger Gracie, Levar Johnson eventually, Abongo Humphrey, Daniel Puder, Jon Murphy, Carl Seumanutafa
Some of these fighters were on loan to DREAM from Strikeforce, so they have current Strikeforce deals. I'm also probably forgetting some of the smaller-time fighters that are fighting in ShoMMA as well, but obviously they may not reap the benefits of such a deal. You can see the amount of top-notch fights that could come from such a deal though. Zaromskis vs. Diaz could be a truly epic battle, and having guys like Ribeiro, Aoki, Hansen, Calvancante, Kawajiri, Nakamura, and Kikuno in the mix to actually fight some North American lightweights like Melendez or Thomson is a refreshing prospect.
The Middleweight prospects are also very solid, and it'll cure the entire problem of having a guy like Lawler battle catchweight match-ups instead of legitimate middleweights. DREAM is a bit short on heavier competition, but there is always the possibility of M-1 filling that void in this entire process. They have some solid candidates within the mold of their M-1 Challenge promotion, and don't forget that Shane Del Rosario, a very highly-touted heavyweight prospect, is on loan from Strikeforce to M-1.
I know a lot of fans are going to be skeptical about this alliance and probably be pessimistic about the possibilities, but as a hardcore fan, I can't help but be a bit excited about some of the match-ups that could happen. I'm hoping Coker and M-1 can smoothly negotiate these cards with DREAM when they happen so the fans can be entertained.