Can the Strikeforce Heavyweights Compete in the UFC?

PHOENIX - AUGUST 13: Jason Richey (L) squares off against Edmund Xehili (R) in the Strikeforce Challengers Undercard bout at Dodge Theater on August 13 2010 in Phoenix Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

A major part of the Strikeforce announcement was the disbanning of the heavyweight division following the end of the Grand Prix. The winner of Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier will fight once more and then the division is getting shut down. The reasoning is that heavyweight just isn't deep enough to have two separate divisions under the same Zuffa banner. With the division being absorbed into the UFC, how will the Strikeforce heavyweights match up with their UFC counterparts?

At the very top Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett are fighting for the Grand Prix belt. Both fighters have the talent and skill set to be immediate factors in the UFC. Cormier, thought a bit undersized, has the punching power and wrestling to be competitive and Barnett is still one of the best heavyweights in the world. Fabricio Werdum is rumored to be fighting Roy Nelson, though that fight has no been confirmed by the UFC and Dana wouldn't confirm it on yesterday's press call.

Antonio Silva is a major question mark in my mind. He's obviously skilled in both Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai; however, he's also lumbering and chin-y. He scored a huge win over Fedor Emelianenko in the opening round of the grand prix and his post-fight tears was one of the feel good moments of the year in MMA. When he faced Cormier in the semi-finals, he was embarrassed and knocked out. Though it could be attributed to Daniel's speed and footwork, Silva just didn't have any answers on the feet.

It is doubtful that the UFC will sign Sergei Kharitonov who was made to look like a chump against Josh Barnett. Blasting Andrei Arlovski into the next dimension just isn't as impressive as it once was. Sergei has legitimate boxing skills but his inability to get off his back against Barnett is a major concern. His lack of english makes him a booking nightmare and he just doesn't capture fans.

The remainder of the the Heavyweight Grand Prix participants are either already under UFC contract such as Alistair Overeem or persona non grata with Zuffa such as Brett Rogers and Fedor Emelianenko. There are two interesting prospects in Chad Griggs and Shane del Rosario but neither are ready for the top tier of the heavyweight division.

The Strikeforce heavyweights will provide a much needed infusion of new talent into the UFC heavyweight division but outside of Cormier and Barnett, it is doubtful that any of the fighters brought over will truly test any of the top guys in the UFC. The UFC's heavyweight division is just deeper and more talented which means there is a strong possibility that the Strikeforce fighters washout soon after making their debuts.

SBN coverage of Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal

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