This is a guest post by Josh Nason.
While Allistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett were the newsworthy heavyweights coming out of Saturday's Strikeforce event, a man with mutton chops and a man with a mohawk both left impressions on me for different reasons.
Other than the weight class, you couldn't get two more complete opposites than Chad Griggs and Brett Rogers and based on their results Saturday, that includes their careers.
We're past the point of surprise with Griggs, who is 3-0 in Strikeforce and 11-1 overall. He has a story that you hear often, fighting part-time while working full-time. After a run on the regional circuit and over a year off, Griggs was resurrected to lose against Bobby Lashley last August. Lashley was gassed in the first round and submitted after ten minutes, giving the game Griggs the upset win.
Then came 7-1 prospect Gian Villante who had finishes in all of his victories. Griggs took him out in the first round via TKO. Saturday, Griggs got the experienced Valentijn Overeem in a toss-up fight. Luckily, he won the toss as Griggs got Overeem to submit in the first round after punching him in the head a lot.
But while Griggs is jubilant on Father's Day, Brett Rogers has got to be downright sullen. At 8-0, he came over in the EliteXC contract acquisition and Strikeforce booked him the right way early on. He crushed Abongo Humphrey via 2nd round TKO and responded when they gave him Andrei Arlovski, beating him by 1st round TKO. But that's when he took a jump that has caused a bit of a spiral.
In November 2009, Rogers took on Fedor Emelianenko and famously "hung in there" for a round before being dispatched in the 2nd. He got some credibility but it was clear he had a long way to go before being considered at the top level of the sport. Instead of letting him evolve though, Strikeforce gave him a heavyweight title shot against Allistair Overeem which ended quickly and violently.
After a forgettable non-Strikeforce decision win in October, Rogers was overmatched against Barnett in their first round Grand Prix bout. Three losses and all to former/current champions and a promising career now completely stalled. Too much, too soon? Without a doubt.
So what now?
For Griggs, they need to keep pushing on like they have been. Dan Cormier is an intriguing opponent that would make a lot of sense, but there might be concern about Griggs taking out another prospect. Lavar Johnson and Mike Kyle could also make for notable fights, but whatever is next, the Zuffa crews needs to ensure that they don't make the same mistake the previous regime did with Rogers.
For Rogers, he needs to hit the reset button on everything. On the broadcast, Mauro Ranallo discussed how Rogers (11-3) had been considering some type of training camp change and based on his last 18 months, that's probably a good idea. With Sean Shelby now at the matchmaking helm, there's a least a chance something can be salvaged. He needs to expand his skills and get a fight that will rebuild his confidence, win or lose.
Josh Nason (@JoshNason) is a New England-based MMA journalist that contributes to BloodyElbow.com, FIGHT! Magazine and WrestlingObserver.com. He co-hosts the weekly MMA Show on ESPN Radio affiliate WGAMradio.com.