Daniel Cormier respects Frank Mir -- but believes Josh Barnett was a tougher challenge

May 19, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Josh Barnett (right) fights Daniel Cormier (left) during the heavyweight tournament final bout of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Let's hope for Frank Mir's sake he's wrong, or this might not make it out of the first round.

Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion Daniel Cormier, who has one fight left on his contract before he's able to join the ranks of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), will get a taste of what life is like inside the Octagon when Mir makes his way over to the Hexagon later this year.

Find out how this fight came together by clicking here.

Cormier (10-0) faced his stiffest test to date with a five round main event against Josh Barnett back in May. "DC" passed with flying colors, beating "The Warmaster" in the stand-up, the ground game and just about every other facet of mixed martial arts (MMA) you can think of.

Heading into the Mir fight, the former Olympic wrestler told MMA Weekly he believes the Las Vegas-based grappler is good, and he "respects him greatly," but also believes Barnett is just a little bit better.

Those comments, after the jump.

"You've got to tip your hat off to the executives at Zuffa for doing something like that and to Frank Mir for doing it. I respect Frank greatly for stepping in and taking this fight. This fight can elevate my status in the sport a ton. The reality is Frank Mir is a guy people from the UFC know, he's been a champion, he's always around the top of the sport. Frank Mir is going to introduce me to the UFC fans a little bit more than I would fighting a different guy. There's no motivation like fighting a champion. I respect Frank, the fight's very similar to Josh Barnett. I think Josh Barnett is better. No disrespect to Frank, but I think Josh is better and I'm going to train as if I'm fighting Josh Barnett again, and let's see how this fight plays out."

Mir (16-6) saw his three-fight winning streak snapped at the hands of Junior dos Santos, literally, when the Brazilian boxer sent him ass over tin cups at the UFC 146 pay-per-view event last May. It was the second time the former "Ultimate Fighter" coach came up short in his bid for the 265-pound strap, having also been pounded out by Brock Lesnar way back at UFC 100.

But you can never count him out.

Despite his high-profile losses to hard-hitting heavyweights, Mir is still 7-3 over his last 10 fights and has six finishes. More importantly, he's got twice the experience of Cormier and should prove to a be formidable challenge.

The question is, do you rank him above or below Barnett?

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