How Strikeforce fighters have fared in the UFC since their promotion was closed


Since Strikeforce was shut down earlier this year, a total of thirty fights featuring 'forced crossover' Strikeforce fighters have taken place. How have they done so far?

Strikeforce was an interesting promotion, built from the ground up with stars that wouldn't or couldn't sign with the UFC. Frank Shamrock, Cung Le, Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson - the list goes on. Zuffa started Strikeforce's downfall when they purchased the company in March of 2011, and the final months of the promotion were pretty brutal. The UFC had taken most of their top fighters already, and injuries (real or imagined) led to canceled cards and a final event that was underwhelming to say the least.

Many fans rejoiced though, because SF fighters would finally get their shot in the UFC, a shot they apparently deserved. It was easy for fans and pundits to dismiss why a lot of these guys signed with Strikeforce in the first place - to make a lot more money than the UFC was offering - because they wanted top fighters to fight under the brightest lights possible. Stars like Melendez, Ronda Rousey and Luke Rockhold could finally ply their trade with the best in the world.

So how have they fared thus far?

I'm going to take a look at how SF fighters have done since the promotion was closed. For these purposes, we're leaving out the heavyweights that came over last year (except Cormier) and guys like Nick Diaz. If they had stayed in Strikeforce, they would have still been able to fight under the Strikeforce banner. But now that the promotion is officially closed, I'm going to look at the guys that have come over since then. The "forced crossovers", as it were.

Note - There will probably be some debate about a couple of WMMA fighters (Liz Carmouche and Sara McMann), since they competed in Invicta in their last bouts before moving to the UFC while under contract to Strikeforce. For the purposes of this, I include Carmouche because she actually fought in SF, while I leave McMann out as she did not).

Anyway, here we go.

Officially, Derek Brunson picked up the first win for a debuting Strikeforce fighter even though it was before the promotion was officially closed. UFC 156 continued the good trend with three more SF guys (Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Bobby Green, and Tyron Woodley) all winning. Follow that up with Robbie Lawler's upset of Josh Koscheck at UFC 157 and Ronda Rousey's ascension into superstardom and Scott Coker was smiling somewhere. It was counterbalanced a bit by Carmouche's loss and Caros Fodor losing to Sam Stout, while Nah-Shon Burrell beat Yuri Villefort in the first battle of two crossover Strikeforce fighters (Rousey vs. Carmouche was the second).

The roller coaster descended a bit after that though. Six out of the next eight SF fighters (Mizuto Hirota, Quinn Mulhern, Bobby Voelker, Nate Marquardt, Ryan Couture, and Miesha Tate) all lost. Jordan Mein and Gegard Mousasi were the lone bright spots in this period. There was also another SF vs. SF fight here, where Adlan Amagov sent Chris Spang packing with a decision win.

Then UFC on Fox 7 and UFC 159 happened, and the roller coaster went back up a bit. Big wins by Thomson and Daniel Cormier highlighted the main card of Fox 7, while Pat Healy's upset of Jim Miller was the lone highlight of the UFC 159 main card. Melendez did lose the main event of Fox 7 in a disputed decision though, and Mein was KO'd by Matt Brown. On the undercards of the events, a total of three fighters won their bouts - Jorge Masvidal, Yoel Romero, and Ovince St. Preux. OSP's win came over fellow SF fighter Gian Villante though. On the losing side of the bracket over the prelims of these two events were Lorenz Larkin, Roger Bowling, Yancy Medeiros, Villante, and Kurt Holobaugh.

Yes, that was a bit tedious. But it came out to a total of 30 fights. Three SF vs. SF fights and 27 SF vs. non-SF fights. So, let's get to some numbers instead - here's how it breaks down stats-wise.

Overall Strikeforce fighter record since closure through UFC 159: 16-17

Strikeforce fighter vs. established UFC fighter record: 15-16
Strikeforce fighter vs. debuting non-SF UFC fighter record: 1-1 (Mousasi def. Latifi, Zingano def. Tate)

SF fighter record by division:
HW: 1-0
LHW 2-1
MW: 2-1
WW: 5-6*
LW: 5-5
FW : 0-2
Women: 1-2

* - Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Yuri Villefort was technically a catchweight fight, but I've included it at 170

Fights between two Strikeforce fighters - 3 (Rousey/Carmouche, Amagov/Spang, Burrell/Villefort)

Method of victory/defeat for Strikeforce fighters:

Wins by KO/TKO - 5
Wins by Submission - 3
Wins by Decision - 8
Losses by KO/TKO - 7
Losses by Submission - 1
Losses by Decision - 9

Number of Strikeforce fighters officially cut from the UFC - 2 (Fodor, Spang)
Strikeforce fighters officially scheduled for debuts after today: 15

Are there many conclusions to draw from this? Probably not. It's a very small sample size and only one fighter (Jordan Mein) has fought more than once for the organization. I'm just a stats nerd and a lot of people have wondered how they're doing so far, so I thought I'd do the leg work. It will be interesting to see how well they can do going forward, and how many of them are still on the roster in six months or a year.

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