What the UFC signing of Lavar Johnson, Chad Griggs means for Strikeforce HW'sPosted on December 21, 2011, 01:28 PM by Joey Santosus
Just days after it was revealed that the Strikeforce Heavyweight division would soon cease to exist, it's merger with the UFC's 265-pound talent appears to be underway.
During a media conference call held last week, it was announced that Showtime and ZUFFA had extended their broadcasting deal, allowing the Strikeforce brand to live on for the foreseeable future. Though this meant job security for many of the up and coming fighters that the promotion currently employs, news that they would eliminate their Heavyweight division left the big guys in limbo.
While ZUFFA had already began absorbing some of the division's bigger names into the UFC, such as former Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem and Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Fabricio Werdum, it was unclear what the future held for the lesser known prospects that had found success while cutting their teeth in the San Jose based organization. That now appears to have changed.
The UFC has confirmed that former Strikeforce staple Lavar Johnson has been booked opposite Joey Beltran at UFC on Fox 2, and sources close to the fighter have revealed (via MMAWeekly) that Chad Griggs will make his octagon debut sometime in 2012.
Johnson (15-5) is a California native and local fan favorite, but will head into his clash with Beltran on a two-fight losing slump. Griggs (11-1), meanwhile, has won three straight under the Strikeforce banner, including an upset victory over Bobby Lashley in his debut, but remains a full-time firefighter.
Although both competitors have displayed great promise in their recent outings, the UFC's acquisition of such talent attests to the likelihood that others, such as Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett, who are currently set to meet in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Finals, will eventually follow suit.
With the current lack of any solid confirmation that the division, as a whole, will be absorbed into the UFC, one can only speculate on which individuals may or may not make the final cut. But, if these recent signings are any indicator of things to come, it appears that most will, at least, get a shot to prove their worth in the world's most prominent mixed martial arts promotion.