When Alistair Overeem was taken out of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix with a toe injury, the mixed martial arts world was quick to write off the rest of the tournament.
With Fedor Emelianenko also out, who cares, right?
It is for that reason the former Olympic wrestler didn't hesitate for a second to accept his spot in the grand prix. His development in the sport has lead him to this point. It's time to take the test to find out exactly how good he is and can be.
As Cormier tells Cagewriter, a tournament win would "validate" him as a mixed martial artist:
"People are saying that the tournament means nothing because Overeem is out, it's the biggest thing in my life. When I first saw the tournament started, I thought it was the greatest collection of heavyweights in one bracket. I still get to fight some of the best heavyweights in the world, and if I string this together, I think it validates me as a mixed martial artist. ... At some point, I'm going to be considered one of the best fighters in the world. My drive and determination are going to push me in that direction."
Quite the bold claim, to say he will eventually be considered one of the best in the world.
But he can jump start himself down that road if he can somehow manage to defeat Silva, a Brazilian badass and the man responsible for destroying the myth surrounding Fedor this past February.
As far as the match-up against "Bigfoot," Cormier said he's "faster, more athletic and a better wrestler." That may or may not be enough to see him through to victory but it's time to at least put it to the test.
Does he pass with flying colors? Or is he being rushed into a fight he's not yet ready for?