Because now Daniel Cormier must face "The Warmaster" in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final in early 2012, a considerable test for the undefeated prospect out of American Kickboxing Academy (AKA).
Coach Javier Mendez explains (via Sherdog.com):
"I was crossing my fingers [Barnett] wouldn’t win. He’s so damn dangerous. There’s really not much weakness [with] him. We’re going to have to really, really do our homework with this one. … If you want to be realistic, after watching all the fighters, the number one guy that’s really the best out of the group, the first original eight, is the guy in the finals now. That’s Josh. If you’re going on how they approached their fights and [how] they looked in their fights, you have to give it to Josh. [The broken hand] could play an impact for us because who knows when the bones heal, what kind of time’s going to be required. I don’t know. It could be bad for us or it could be OK. It all depends on the healing process. He got what he needed from that fight. I think for him, he’s not focusing on Barnett right now. He’s going to be focused on healing himself and getting ready to go. He’s been through this before. Come fight time, he’ll be ready to go."
Cormier was a late-replacement for Alistair Overeem, who scraped his toe, got released from his Strikeforce contract and promptly signed with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for a UFC 141 mega-fight against Brock Lesnar.
Unfortunately a timetable for Cormier's return is still unknown.
"DC" broke his hand in the process of breaking "Bigfoot" Silva and will likely need an extended period of time to recuperate and get back into training camp.
Even when he's 100-percent healthy, the former Olympic wrestler will have the stiffest challenge of his career against the former UFC heavyweight champion, who is 31-5 with 26 finishes.
Anyone think Cormier can complete the Cinderella story? Or is Barnett going to crush him under the weight of his catch wrestling and 13 years of experience?