The Strikeforce: Top 5 fighters to join the UFC after this weekend’s farewell


Based in San Jose, California, Strikeforce provided more than enough moments of pure MMA magic. HP Pavillion witnessed history on numerous occasions, from Le vs. Shamrock, through Carano vs. Cyborg, and up to the legendary encounter between Fedor Emelianenko and Fabricio Werdum.

Strikeforce legacy will carry on with its former fighters, vast majority of which will join the Ultimate Fighting Championship. So which former Strikeforce fighters we should be looking for in 2013?

Daniel Cormier

DC is currently the number one pound-for-pound fighter competing under the Strikeforce banner. Cormier is one of the most decorated wrestlers in Mixed Martial Arts, possessing surprising explosiveness and great striking skills that allowed him to record high-profile victories against Antonio Silva, Jeff Monson, and Josh Barnett. While it remains pretty clear that Cormier will not challenge his teammate Cain Velasquez for the UFC Heavyweight title, a drop down to 205 seems like an exciting opportunity for the thirty-three year old Olympian.

Gilbert Melendez

I’ve always been a fan of ‘El Nino’ Melendez. However, I must admit that a split decision victory over Josh Thomson was not one of the best moments in Melendez’s career. At the same time, I’m highly intrigued to see what a motivated Gilbert Melendez can do inside the Octagon. Many experts believe ‘El Nino’ is one of the Top 10 Pound-for-Pound fighters on the planet, but let’s see if he lives up to the expectations.

Nate Marquardt

The Great has absolutely destroyed Tyron Woodley at his 170 debut back in July, 2012. Marquardt is one of the most experienced fighters in MMA, and definitely has the necessary skillset to achieve greatness at Welterweight. It’s also interesting to see that Nate Marquardt has no problems fighting his former teammate Georges St. Pierre. Top fighters should fight top fighters, simple as that. I can’t see Marquardt losing this weekend, however, fights against guys like Koscheck, Jake Ellenberger and Hendricks would be an interesting test for the former King of Pancrase.

Josh Barnett

Yes, Josh Barnett. The Baby-faced Assassin is still a force to be reckoned with, and definitely a threat for many top fighters in the UFC Heavyweight division. Barnett still has his trademark aggressiveness, and the unique catchwrestling style that would make him a 10,000-piece for guys like Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez. I’m not saying Josh Barnett will be the next UFC Heavyweight champion, but I can definitely see him going strong in the higher echelon of the UFC Heavyweight division.

Luke Rockhold

Last but definitely not the least, Luke Rockhold is probably the most exciting fighter to join the UFC from Strikeforce. Unique striking skills, magnetic personality, and a good potential to become the next big thing in the UFC Middleweight division. The same division that finally his a good list of potential title contenders. Rockhold would blend-in perfectly, with many promising match-ups on the radar. I’ll make a bet on Costa Philippou as Like Rockhold’s first opponent inside the Octagon.

  • Gilbert Melendez should be number 1, he's been a top fighter in the world for so much longer than any of those guy's. He's had the hardest road out of all of them and is been the champ for way longer. Dana White himself has considered Gilbert a top 5 fighter for as long as I can remember. No disrespect to Josh Barnett but he fell off for a while.

    • Cormier really is the best Heavyweight in the world though!!. He's Cain Valasquez's wrestling coach for god sakes.lmao!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • These are pretty much Strikeforce's staple fighters right now, to be fair they could do a whole lot worse. All these guys are almost certainly in the top 10 of their respective divisions.

    I don't know why but I feel like Mousasi is just as deserving of a spot as Gil, I mean both guys haven't had a convincing top fighter win in year and if we judge off obvious talent then Gegard stands tall beside anyone in Strikeforce. I guess Gil should get the nod for being the longtime champ and impressive or not he is on a strong win streak.

    Also your right in saying who should we look this weekend but I wouldn't count on Barnett coming yet, Dana has been very awkward and not willing to commit whether he will sign Barnett when he was asked only a couple of weeks before the final Strikeforce. I hope the Warmaster does comes across, I still rate him as a solid top 10.

  • I can't wait to see Josh Barnett stack skulls inside the Octagon (except Cormier's skull)! Seriously, I'm very happy to see one of the older guys hanging with the new breed and doing well. Please shake his hand Dana!

  • Nate Marquardt? Gegard Mousasi for crying out loud, Jacare, Nate was already in the UFC and he has not done too much since then…

    • Nate will be interesting at 170, I do agree that Mousasi should have been mentioned though. My faves from Strikeforce have to be DC and Dreamcatcher.

  • Wrestling or no wrestling Cormier's hands are meant to do damage. He's a beast! His style with his angles and illusiveness and insane power! Can't wait to see him in UFC!

  • The first four are awesome…I dont by rockhold much.

  • If DC makes #1 contender I hope he dont pull no I wont fight my like Hendo "hell yeah id fight Chael"..