Mixed Martial Arts legend Dan Henderson and Renato “Babalu” Sobral will headline the stacked Strikeforce: St. Louis fight card, which will take place at the Scottrade Center in St Louis, Missouri. Middleweight collision between Matt Lindland and Robbie Lawler will serve as the co-main event, as Herschel Walker, Paul Daley and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva will also take part in the event.
Q: What is up next for the winner of Smith/Daley?
Coker: “I think when people talk about our 170 weight class, obviously you know that Nick Diaz is our world title holder, and I think that this fight is going to have title contention, as far as who is going to fight for the title. Depending on the belt and where he’s at and who he is fighting but we have some plans for Scott or Paul. But you also in that weight class have to mention Evangelista. It will be interesting and this fight will help determine who goes where.”
Q: Scott, could Robbie get the title shot if he beats Matt, and if so does it work the other way around as well?
Coker: “This fight is going to very important for the title contention for the 185 class. Matt has fought Jacare (Souza) and that was about a year ago, so we can revisit that. We will definitely be keeping our eye on it to monitor to see who wins and how he wins because of the fight that we want to put together for Jacare. This is definitely a fight that is right up there for the title contention.”
Q: How do you feel going into this fight to be fighting at 170 pounds for the first time, and what was behind your decision to move down to welterweight for this fight?
Smith: “A big part of the decision is that I have been lazy at getting away with making 185. I’ve been a little soft a couple of times. Fighting at 170 has forced me to diet and that has been the worst part of my training. Three weeks after my last night I was walking around at 189, but I didn’t think there was any reason that I couldn’t cut down to 170, so I’ve been walking around at about 185, eating a ton of healthy food. I think the cut should be good. I might be crying about it on the day of weight-ins but I don’t think there is any reason why I shouldn’t be fighting at 170.”
Q: Scott, do you have goals of a title shot at 170?
Smith: “I just look for these exciting fights and a fight with Paul Daley is an exciting fight. That is more important to me that a title fight. I know when me and Daley fight we are going to put on a show and the fans are going to like watching. Those are the type of fights I look for.
Q: Paul, talk about your decision to come to STRIKEFORCE as your new home and your thoughts on facing a guy with a game plan similar to yours?
Daley: “STRIKEFORCE has great fighters, and has put on awesome shows. The match making is great and I just want to be part of an exciting promotion. Scott is one of those guys that I used to watch back in the day, because of his game, he comes out and fights. He has that attitude that I admire and you know when he is in a fight it is going to be an exciting fight. The dude knocks people out, a man after my own heart. He likes to go in there and leave people lying on the floor, receiving oxygen. It is going to be a great fight. I have trained hard. I expect it to be a short but exciting fight.”
Q: Paul, do you have any thoughts on your path to the title?
Daley: “Obviously first it’s Scott Smith and to get him out of the picture real quick and then really I just want to take these names that STRIKEFORCE has en route to the title or the people that I think are going to present me with the most challenge. Without being disrespectful to Cyborg or Mr. Coker, I don’t think that a fight with Cyborg is something that I am looking for at the moment. I would rather fight K.J. Noons, Nick Diaz straight away or Tyron Woodley, which is maybe not a bigger name but I respect him and I think a fight with him will not only be a challenge for me but it will be an exciting fight. But ideally I’d like to fight Noons after I knock out Scott Smith. It makes it a more fun fight because I respect Scott Smith, because I feel like I am familiar with them because I have watched a lot of their fights. I know how they operate and have a lot of knowledge on that person, rather than someone I don’t admire.”
Q: You haven’t fought more than twice a year. Is that a conscious decision?
Lindland: “No it’s has been a little disappointing that I have not been able to compete as much and as frequently as I have in the past. It’s a change in companies and the irregularity, and there are a lot of fighters on the STRIKEFORCE roster. I have not gotten as many opportunities that I would have liked. I think that has contributed a lot to me taking the fight in the Challengers show, because there wasn’t a fight in the immediate future. So I wanted to get back in the ring and compete.”
Q: Matt, where do you feel like you fall in your career and your goals?
Lindland: “I think I am still one of the top contenders in this sport, a top 10 guy and of course I lost to a champion, Jacare, and I think this is a great path back to that title contention. A win against Robbie certainly solidifies me in that top 10. I just need to focus on this fight. I have been working on all aspects of my game, the standup, the ground, the wrestling, the submissions. Every bit of it. Robbie is a well rounded fighter and people categorize him as a big striker and a brawler, he knows how to fight on his feet. But he knows how to wrestle and he knows how to fight on the ground. So I have to be prepared for all aspects of the sport. Right now I am just focusing on coming in the best shape and being healthy. I have zero injuries, so no excuses going into this fight. I’m looking forward to it. I am very excited about this opportunity.”
Q: Robbie, have you had a chance to work with wrestlers to get ready for a guy like Matt?
Lawler: “I didn’t go down to Arizona this time because the gym wasn’t open, but I’ve been working on my wrestling as much as I’ve been working on all my other skills. I’ve trained hard for this fight and I look forward to it.”
Q: Do you think you are going to have a tougher time taking Lindland to the ground than he thinks?
Lawler: “I don’t know how he thinks it is going to be but I have been working on my skills, my wrestling and I have been working on everything. I think you have to ask Matt how easy he thinks it will be. I think he thinks it will be tough and it will be.”
Q: Robbie, because there could be a title shot on the line is there more pressure?
Lawler: “I am not too worried about what is happening after this fight. I am worried about training for Matt and going to get in there and doing my best.”