Rundown of Strikeforce “Rockhold vs. Jardine” post-fight news and notes…
— Like Gilbert Melendez and other fighters, it seems Luke Rockhold is getting restless in Strikeforce. Immediately after he crushed Keith Jardine last night, Rockhold made it crystal clear that he wants to prove himself against top competition.
“I like fighting, I like getting paid, but I love competition and striving to be the best,” he said. “Right now, all the best guys are in the UFC, at least the top-10 guys. … Those are the guys I want. I want to climb to the top and fight the best in the world. I think they should bring over some top contenders. Let’s see who the true No. 1 contender is. I believe I am, and I’d love the chance to prove it.”
Realistically though, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. With the exception of the heavyweights, Strikeforce fighters are going to remain Strikeforce fighters for the foreseeable future, as Scott Coker reiterated last night.
“They’d just like to be in a position where they can fight anybody in any other league,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said following the news conference. “But you know, it’s already been decided that these are going to be separate leagues. We’re going to provide them great fights and we’ll still have some great fights ahead of them. But these guys have a lot to prove.”
With that in mind Rockhold says he’s content facing the quality opponents that are available.
“If that’s the plan, that’s the plan,” Rockhold told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I’ll make the most of what we’ve got here. Me and Tim Kennedy was supposed to happen quite a few times, and it doesn’t seem to come to happening. I always look to bigger and better things, and if the UFC wants to bring in some top contenders, I’m more than welcome to welcome them in our hexagon, like Gilbert would say.”
“I’m more than willing to fight anybody here – Tim Kennedy or even a rematch with ‘Jacare,'” Rockhold said. “If they want to bring guys over, let’s bring guys over, but I’m content and I’m happy in Strikeforce. Eventually I think we’ll get the matchups, so I just want to fight the guys that have earned their spot in here. No offense to Keith Jardine. He’s a tough guy, and he’s a veteran opponent, but I want to fight guys that have really earned their spot. Tim Kennedy I’d say is the most valid challenger right now, no doubt. We’ll see if we can make that fight happen. I’m more than willing to take that fight.”
It’s unclear if and when Rockhold and Kennedy might fight, but if it that doesn’t work out, Robbie Lawler looked pretty good last night. Considering the lack of depth in the division that’s probably a fight that will happen sooner or later.
—One Strikeforce fighter who didn’t want to talk about the UFC last night was King Mo. He just re-signed with Strikeforce and knows full well that talking about fighting in the UFC is pointless, which is why he was less than pleased when someone asked him about Rampage Jackson.
“Why’d you bring up that bum’s name?” Lawal said when asked about Jackson. “It’s like this: If he wants to come to Strikeforce and get beat, he can. To me, he should stick to acting and doing movies. To me, in my mind, in my eyes, he ain’t got it no more. He can hit me up on Twitter and talk trash and try to get me off my game, but we all know the truth. He’s an actor; a sub-par actor. He should be on ‘The B-Team,’ not ‘The A-Team’.”
“I’m in Strikeforce,” Lawal said. “The fans who are asking me about the UFC, they’re stupid, man. I’m in Strikeforce. What can I say about the UFC? I’m in Strikeforce. The UFC has their own thing and Strikeforce has their own thing. I can’t be concerned with what they’re saying.”
— Strikeforce finally confirmed their long-rumored March 3 card last night along with several fights including Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey. Other fights announced include KJ Noons vs. Josh Thomson, Paul Daley vs. Kazuo Misaki and Alexis Davis vs. Sarah Kaufman. Strikeforce still hopes to headline the card with the conclusion of the heavyweight grand prix final between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier, however they’re still waiting for Cormier to be medically cleared before they can make it official.
— Speaking of the HWGP, the winner is still expected to fight one more time on Showtime. The only problem is all the other Strikeforce heavyweights are moving over to the UFC, which doesn’t leave them many options for opponents. When asked if Fedor Emelianenko could be a possibility, Scott Coker didn’t rule it out.
“That’s interesting,” Coker said. “I’m not sure what Fedor has planned. I haven’t spoken to M-1. I know (M-1 executive) Steve Bash was in the audience tonight, but we haven’t had that conversation yet.”
— And last but not least, Scott Coker is much more optimistic about the future of the women’s 145 lbs weight division following Cris Cyborg’s failed steroid test than Dana White is.
“The 145-pound weight class, I don’t think it’s time to throw that out to the garbage,” Coker said. “I feel we still have some great fighters at 145, and a lot of girls who maybe haven’t been around for a while are going to be motivated to come back because ‘Cyborg’ isn’t going to be there.
“I heard that [White] had said something to the fact of, ‘Well, with her out, what’s the division?’ But there are girls out there … we can bring in to fight at 145. If that’s not the case, I’m sure we’ll evaluate it and make a business decision. But I don’t think that determination has been made.”
Coker is still holding out hope that Gina Carano will return to action this year, but that remains to be seen.