One plus one equals two. UFC is holding more events and is having trouble filling their cards with worthy fights. Strikeforce is struggling. Why not absorb Strikeforce and their roster? It may not be so easy. Strikeforce currently has a contract with Showtime. It is unclear how long that contract is valid. What is certain is that the contract runs through this year. It also is assumed that they have an option to keep Strikeforce through 2013. I do not believe that much convincing needs to be done that Strikeforce needs to die. I believe most people outside of Showtime and Zuffa see the benefit to Strikeforce disbanding and their roster joining the UFC. I just highly doubt it happens. However, let’s play Devil’s advocate. Let’s see what potential value Strikeforce could have for the UFC.
There are currently 68 fighters on the Strikeforce roster (if you do not count the female fighters). My guess is that UFC would not be interested in the entire roster. If It was my job to decide who comes and goes, here is who I would bring to the UFC. Daniel Cormier, Josh Barnett, Guto Inocente, Gegard Mousasi, Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante, Gian Villante, Mike Kyle, Dion Starling, Ovince St. Preux, Luke Rockhold, Tim Kennedy, Jacare Souza, Robbie Lawler, Adlan Amagov, Lorenz Larkin, Trevor Smith, Roger Gracie, Yancy Medeiros, Derek Brunson, Anthony Smith, Nate Marquardt, Tyron Woodley, Jordan Mein, Kazuo Misaki, Tarec Saffiedine, Jorge Santiago, Quinn Mulhern, Yuri Villefort, Bobby Voelker, Chris Spang, Roger Bowling, Jason High, Ryan LaFlare, Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson, Pat Healy, Jorge Masvidal, K.J. Noons, Bobby Green, Mizuto Horita, Adriano Martins, Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Ryan Couture, and Caros Fodor.
Even with such a big addition to the UFC roster, how many of those guys are able to be used for main cards? Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett could be on a main card, possibly even a headliner. I think Feijao and Mousasi could be on a main card and also present credible threats to Jon Jones. Luke Rockhold, Tim Kennedy and Jacare could fill a main card spot. I also believe that Robbie Lawler, Lorenz Larkin and Roger Gracie could be on a main card of an FX type card. Nate Marquardt could be on a main card and with the right opponent guys like Woodley, Mein, Misaki and Saffiendine could as well. Gilbert Melendez could be on a main card and Josh Thomson and Pat Healy could on a FX card. Oh yeah, there is also this girl named Ronda Rousey. Perhaps you’ve heard of her. I have a feeling her growing popularity could be a catalyst to this whole thing. UFC would love her on a card. She’s a star.
That gives some options, but not as many as some might thing. It does give a few potential challengers down the line to the UFC champions. It does inject some depth into several divisions that sorely need it. It also adds a few nice prospects such as Yancy Medeiros, Guto Inocente, Gian Villante, Yuri Villefort, and Adriano Martins.
Yes, UFC can survive without any of the Strikeforce guys coming over. However, their cards could really be strengthened with them. It is a great insurance for an injury a top a UFC card. It would have been nice to have had the luxury of calling some of the Strikeforce stars to fill recent injury voids.
It is only a matter of time. How long may depend on contracts already in place rather than logic or demand. Fan and media outcry may help, but my guess is everyone’s hands are tied at the moment.