Admittedly, I'm not the biggest Tim Sylvia fan. However, we have an interesting situation on our hands. Showtime is exercising their contractual obligations with Cormier and we will see him compete once more in the Hexagon.
There have been a number of names that have been floated around, ranging from current UFC Heavyweights like Shane Carwin to M-1 Global's own Fedor Emelianenko. I'd like to take a look at another interesting option for Zuffa to take. Here's a short list of reasons to look to none other than Tim Sylvia.
1. Gives Showtime a credible opponent for Cormier's plus one fight.
First and foremost, I think this match up solves one of the biggest riddles in Strikeforce; who do we put Cormier in there with for his infamous "plus one"? From all indications (and common sense) it seems that Showtime wants a credible opponent for their Grand Prix champion.
Tim Sylvia is a two time UFC Heavyweight champion and has won 7 out of his last 8 (lost to TUF 10 contestant Abe Wagner) since being shut off by Ray Mercer in 9 seconds. Unless they want to bring in Fedor or any of Fedor's recent opponents outside of North America then it's slim pickin's at best.
2. Low risk for Zuffa
Maybe the fan rally for Sylvia hasn't reached Mark Hunt status, but it still exists. Giving Sylvia a one off fight in Strikeforce is very benifical to Zuffa.
Either A: We see Sylvia look competitive (or even win) or B: He gets destroyed. Either way Zuffa is able to gauge where Sylvia is at this point in his career and if he is worth one more chance in the big show. Best of all for Zuffa, they can avoid sending one of their own for a one off fight with Cormier. If Sylvia fails to produce like Dana has implied he will, they will not be committed to Sylvia and can send him on his way if need be.
Finally, Sylvia is hungry for the opportunity. It's reasonable to expect him to be excited for the chance to earn his spot back in the UFC, especially with his recent comments about a possible return. I believe this is the right time and situation to sit down to do business with Timmy.
3. Less impressive HW's have gotten bigger oppertunities in the UFC and Strikeforce
Mike Chiappetta mentioned in the lastest MMA Fighting Round Table: "Why not... After all, the UFC has given a second oppertunity to a guy like Joey Beltran on the strength of one unanimous decision outside of the UFC", when talking about giving Sylvia a final shot in the UFC.
I agree, and even more so since we're talking about a Strikeforce one off fight and not jumping straight back into the UFC for this one. Guys like Ednaldo Oliveira, Oli Thompson, Christain Morecraft (1-3 UFC), Rob Broughton (1-2 UFC) and Phil de Fries are part of the big show and are all guys I would expect Sylvia to at the very least be competitive with.
4. Interesting match up.
Perhaps the most subjective arguement to make, but a fair point. This match up is at least interesting; can Sylvia keep the distance with his reach and stifle Corimer's offense or can Cormier get in where he thrives landing huge bombs and throw his opponent on his back? Can Sylvia pull off the most pivotal win in his career or will Cormier join the UFC ranks with another legend on his resume?
What do you guys think?