This fanpost is under the pretense that Zuffa is all about keeping Strikeforce a legit competitor, and even wanting to get them on PPV. For all we know, Dana is just biding his time, and will let Strikeforce die after 2 years, and
just cherry pick the best fighters...
But for the sake of argument, lets pretend he wants to keep 2 legit, top flight MMA promotions running. What he needs to do to help strikeforce is add some depth. And the best way to do that is by bringing over UFC fighters who have no chance of either fighting for a title, or winning a title anytime soon.
Lightweights: Honestly, this is the most shallow division for strikeforce. Melendez is a BEAST, and outside of him you have about 5 fighter worth holding onto (at this point of their career). Aoki, Wilcox, Masvidal, Thompson and Healy are all solid fighters that could be potential contenders down the line. Guys like Evangelista, Gurgel, JZ and Beerbohm will never get past that mid-tier of the division, and everyone else is just undercard fodder.
- Sean Sherk- Going on 37 years old, the former title holder has been inactive since a controversial split decision win over (at the time) rising prospect Evan Duhnam. He's a tough fight for anyone in the division, but the odds of him being able to beat a speed demon in Edgar or a guy who is Sherk version 2.0 (with better boxing, and wrestling) in Maynard is slim to none. UFC has nothing to lose by letting him go over to Strikeforce.
- Donald Cerrone- I know, he's not even in Melendez's league. But he's a name fighter that puts on exciting fights, and will be a lot closer to a title fight in Strikeforce then he would be in the UFC.
- Takanori Gomi- Maybe he's washed up, but losses to Clay Guida and Kenny Florian are nothing to be ashamed about. But now he's fighting Edson Barboza. I'd much rather see him matched up against Aoki, JZ or Josh Thompson, with the winner fighting for the title.
- Kenny Florian, Joe Stevenson**- These guys are going to test their luck in the lower weight division. IF they aren't successful, I think their careers would be more productive coming back up to 155 and fighting in Strikeforce.
Welterweight: The division, IMO, that the UFC can contribute the most to Strikeforce. Diaz has wiped out the entire Strikeforce division. GSP has wiped out the entire UFC WW division. There are more then a few guys who, as long as GSP is champ, have no chance of winning/fighting for the title.
- Martin Kampmann- A guy who always seems to be in the top 10-12 ww's in the world, Kampmann is a guy who never seems to be able to beat the real "elite" fighters he faces. With consecutive losses (Shields and Sanchez), its clear that Kampmann isn't getting into the title picture anytime soon. Why not send him over to fight Diaz? They both have solid stand up, and, while Diaz is better on the ground, Kampmann is no slouch either. Plus both have a penchant for exciting fights.
- Mike Swick- He hasn't fought in over a year, and his last win was almost 2 years ago. But Swick is a veteran fighter, who brings an exciting pace, and is a challenge for most fighters. Matching him up with Paul Daley, Scott Smith or Cyborg would guarantee a exciting fight.
- Dan Hardy- Hardy is lucky that he isn't unemployed right now, having lost 3 consecutive fights (all by dominant fashion). He has nothing to gain by staying in the wrestler heavy UFC welterweight division, so why not go to Strikeforce? Does anyone really think guys like Mike Pierce, Brian Foster, Johnny Hendricks or Rick Story would have any trouble handling Hardy? A change of scenery, and some fresh faces, who like to stand and bang (Diaz, Cyborg, Noons, Zaromskis) might be what Hardy needs to be revitalized.
- Josh Koscheck- He's probably the most unrealistic coice of the WW's, but he needs to do something. GSP has beaten him twice, easily both times. So as long as GSP is holding the belt, Koscheck is screwed. And I'm sure the last thing Dana wants is Kos beating up and comers and eliminating challengers, kind of like Rich Franklin was doing at MW. Plus, Kos will never fight the #2 WW in the world, so if the title does change hands (Fitch probably has the best chance..I guess..) he's still S.O.L. Plus, if the plan is to put Strikeforce on PPV, Koscheck gives them a big name fighter to help push the buys up.
Middleweight: The Strikeforce MW division is so shallow, that they cant even find a fight for their Champion. They have a few decent fighters in Mayhem Miller, Robbie Lawlor and Tim Kennedy. But outside of those two guys, there are really no viable challengers. There are a few fighters who might be able to climb up the ranks eventually (Luke Rockhold and....), and a few fighters who are exciting (Manhoef, Radach), but thats about it. Similarly to WW, Anderson Silva has cleaned out the MW division, and as long as he's around, there are a few guys who need something to change if they want to do something new with their career.
- Damien Maia- He got humiliated by Anderson Silva. Sure he put on a gritty fight and tried to bring the fight to Anderson, but it was clear that he could do nothing to hurt the champ. That said, he made #2 MW Chael Sonnen tap within 1 round, so he's clearly a top talent. Its just whether or not the UFC wants to let him work his way back up to fight Anderson, or if they let him bide his time. Plus...who wouldn't love Jacare vs. Maia??? That would be EPIC!
- Yoshihiro Akiyama- He's 1-2 in the UFC, with his 1 win coming as a close decision over Alan Belcher. He's at best a middle of the pack MW in the UFC, but none the less, he's a exciting fighter to watch. I don't know how much the UFC relies on him for their oversea's market, but he's a fighter who would have a lot to gain by making the transition.
- Dan Miller- Much like Sexyama, Dan Miller hasn't been able to beat the upper echelon of the MW division, while being able to beat anyone ranked lower then him. Bringing him into strikeforce would add some much needed depth, though he would probably have similar results against Jacare as he did against Maia.
- CB Dollaway, Kendal Grove, Nick Cantone, Jorge Rivera- These 4 guys are the type of guys that any promotion needs to be successful. They aren't going to be winning any titles anytime soon, yet they are guys who can go on a streak and win a few fights in a row. The biggest problem with the Strikeforce MW division is the lack of depth, and bringing in a buch of guys like this would really add to that depth.
Light Heavyweight: Probably the Deepest division for Strikeforce, the LHW division has had 4 LHW champions in the past 2 years. Henderson, Feiajo, Lawal, and Mousassi are all legit LHW fighters. Add in guys like Babalu, Jardine, Prangley, and Mike Kyle and you have a good mix of contenders. On top of all those fighters, you have legit prospects in Roger Gracie and OSP.
Much like the UFC division, LHW is the opposite of MW and WW. It seems like no one in the world can hold onto a championship for more then 2 fights. Which is good, because it prevents one fighter from clearing out an entire division while sitting on top.
- Lil Nog - He's lost to Ryan Bader and Phil Davis, and he will have a tough time beating anyone with some decent wrestling skills (right, Jason Brilz?). Sure, he's a fan favorite, with a big name, but why not use that to help promote the guys in Strikeforce. Mousasi vs. Nog would be an amazing slugfest, and a win over Nogueira would really give a boost to anyone in the division.
- Brandon Vera- Clearly he's hanging on by a thread to his UFC career. I don't know if a move to strikeforce would be a ny more successful for Vera, but it couldn't hurt. He wouldn't probably be able to string many wins together, but he would give the Strikeforce LHW division some much needed depth.
- Stephan Bonnar- Tell me a year ago that Bonnar would ever get a win in the UFC again, let alone 2 in a row, and I would have called you crazy. But here he is, riding a 2 fight win streak, and trying to revitalize his career. He's a fun fighter to watch, often involved in bloody fights, and he's a great test for anyone trying to break into the upper echelon.
- Steve Cantwell- Once a young and intriguing prospect, Cantwell has fallen on hard times. Still only 24 years old, Cantwell still has a lot of promise, but developing in the stacked UFC division isn't always the best thing. A BJJ blackbelt, with the striking to boot, Cantwell would add some depth, and would gain some room to grown under the Strikeforce banner.
- James Te Huna, Anthony Perosh, Igor Pokrajac- Much like the MW division, the LHW division would gain alot by having a few guys who are better then other free agents out there, but not good enough to be considered top fighters. These guys have hit their ceiling in the UFC and would add the needed bodies to keep the Strikeforce LHW roster active.
Heavyweight: Much like the LHW division, the Strikeforce heavyweight division is pretty stacked. Overeem, Antonio Silva, Werdum, Kharitonov, Rogers, and Josh Barnett (if he ever fights) are all legit contenders, who could end up with the title by the end of the year. Add in Daniel Cormier and Shane Del Rosario and you have some legit prospects.
The only thing that the UFC could offer would be some depth, but with the lack of depth in the UFC HW division, it would be hard to warrant any roster switches.
For both UFC and Strikeforce, I think the best thing to do would take the two, slightly thin divisions, and combine them to make one, ridiculously stacked division.