When Strikeforce first announced their Heavyweight Grand Prix, the eight-man competition was met with much hoopla. Unfortunately for Daniel Cormier (Pictured), his name was nowhere to be found in the tournament’s brackets.
In fact, the only reason Cormier was allowed to compete in the tourney was because former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem declined his semifinals bout against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Although he wasn’t initially good enough to crack the VIP list, the 32-year-old seized the opportunity presented to him and put his name on the mixed martial arts map.
On Saturday night, Cormier used his superior speed and much-improved hands to neutralize “Bigfoot’s” significant size, weight and reach advantages. After posting a devastating 1stRound knockout victory to bump his record to a perfect 9-0 mark, the former All-American wrestler now finds himself one win away from taking the tournament.
“It was great,” Cormier stated after collecting the biggest win of his MMA career. “I fought one of the Top 5 heavyweights in the world and knocked him out.
“Give me some respect now.”
Cormier advances to the finals to face former UFC heavyweight champ Josh Barnett, who easily submitted Sergei Kharitonov in the Grand Prix’s other semifinals matchup. The tournament is expected to resume sometime in the first quarter of 2012.