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The Future Of The Strikeforce Heavyweight Division; starring Fedor, Werdum, Rogers & Overeem

Brett RogersAs the dust is finally having a chance to settle following the heavyweight war waged between Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers on Saturday evening as part of the Strikeforce/M-1 broadcast on CBS, it is becoming quite apparent that order will finally be restored to the promotion’s long confused weight class in the near future.

It’s in this writer’s opinion that there is a four man heavyweight tournament brewing in Strikeforce that makes so much sense it will have you wondering exactly how long ago Mr. Coker and his associates had the scenario on the burner.

Either way, it’s nothing short of pure genius in the sense of building four legitimate superstars from your heavyweight division in not time at all.

Fedor already had draw power, but nothing like what he will have in his next bout now that the masses have had a chance to soak his style of beating the crap of people all in.

With that being said, there’s no question in my mind that Rogers pretty much mutiplied his marketability three-fold on Saturday evening. I expect for the same effect to rub off on Fabricio Werdum after he faces Emelianenko in his next outing.

The format of the heavyweight tourney will, in my opinion, look like this: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem vs. Brett Rogers.

As far as the title is concerned; seriously, just scrap the thing. It’s not like it ever existed to begin with. Alistair Overeem is an extremely talented fighter, but quite frankly he’s not the champion of anything at Strikeforce outside of perhaps inactivity, or number of fights pulled out of.

Sure, most of us are well aware of who Overeem is, but you have to understand that there are literally millions of what can be considered TUF 10 noobs out there at this point. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because at the core, noobs are GREAT for the sport. Everyone was a noob at some point. The main point being that the CBS crowd is going to be familiar with Fedor, Rogers, and Werdum because of their appearances Saturday evening, but who the hell is this Alistair cat?

It’s really not that big of a problem because as soon as the bulk of Americans catch a glimpse of the freakish physique that is Alistair Overeem, he should have a massive fan club for many of the same reasons fighters like GSP and Brock Lesnar are popular beyond comprehension .

You tell me what sense this makes: Allowing Overeem to keep his title he hasn’t defended since the dawn of time and face a guy that’s coming off of a loss to the man everyone already knows is the best fighter on the planet. It makes none to me.

So if it was up to me, here’s what I’d do: I’m stripping Overeem right now, no questions asked. Nobody outside of Alistair and his management’s going to hate on you for that one. As a matter of fact, I’d dare to say that Strikeforce’s stock would rise in the eyes of many for doing what should have done a long time ago.

Then set up both tournament bouts on the same card and call it exactly what it is: A tournament to determine the true Strikeforce champion once and for all.

At this point Fedor is going to sell no matter who he fights, so Werdum and him makes sense due to the fact that Fabricio seems to be having a slight problem capturing the attention of the newer audience. That fights not even close. It’s a perfect opponent to guarantee Emelianenko’s placement in the final and decisive round.

Is there anyone that honestly wouldn’t be excited to see a fight between Rogers and Overeem? Seriously, I’ll wait……. This one would be sold ten times over by both guys, who neither have a history of biting their tongues, or having a tremendous amount of respect for one another. There’s no way this fight gets out of the first round, mark my words. This is the exact type of fight that would push the CBS crowd into an MMA frenzy it’s likely never to recover from.

With Emelianenko likely pounding Werdum senseless, the question is who will he face for all of the marbles?

Rogers vs. Overeem is a crap shoot in my opinion. Two big, scary and powerful men with one punch knockout power and something to prove, someone’s going to sleep. No two ways about it.

The bottom line is when it’s all said and done, Strikeforce will have seized the attention of legions of newly converted mixed martial arts fans who’s first experience with the sport will have fighters like Fedor, Rogers, Overeem and Werdum forever etched into their minds. That kind of publicity is priceless when you’re building for the future, which has always been the Strikeforce way of doing things.

20 COMMENTS
  • dpk says:

    Makes sense, I also saw that Coker said that they were going to announce some HW signings in the next 7-10 days. I would bet that means that Arlovski, and Lashley are heading to SF. Arlovski against Bigfoot, or Overeem would make interesting and high profile match-ups, and Lashley could fight some younger guys like Del Rosario and give them better recognition.

  • GassedOut says:

    That logic is flawless, bro. The title needs to be defended or if becomes invalid. Cannot argue with a thing you said, Cory.

  • Jak says:

    I suppose i have a different look, from the start it seemed as though Rogers was a fighter that was able to marketed, he had just ko’d AA and had zero losses, so everything that was known about him was ambiguous.

    As much as Fedor will sell, i think Fedor vs. Werdum would equal a sharp drop off because Werdum is just not a fighter that sells. And right now SF has great momentum, to me using Werdum actually would take them back a step. Even the casual fan who tuned in and saw Werdum/Silva likely won’t think Werdum will do better than Rogers, and the casual fan might actually know him from the AA fight or the JDS fight, which isn’t good.

    Overeem right now seems to be a lost cause, he’s over in japan fighting guys like James Thompson, that should be enough to stop with the Overeem talk until he is actually physically standing in a SF cage across from his opponent.

    I hope SF creates another great card and build up like Saturday night. But there is way to much knee jerk reaction to single fights and single cards right now. And SF still has a lot of work to do to build on their next card.

    I already know this will get “disliked” because it’s not 100% in agreement with the article. but whatever, that’s how MMA forums roll.

  • MacBatty says:

    I can dig it! I do have a little problem with Overeem being stripped NOW that he is finally coming back though….As long as he is coming back id rather see him lose his strap than have the dignity of saying he never lost his belt…

    To be honest id also like to see Rodgers Vs Bigfoot sooner than later. Bigfoot really came out swinging in round 1 of his fight and id like to see the Fireworks that would be made between Rodgers & him.

    Id also like them to bring in Arlovski…..Poor guy got a bad wrap because of a good showing from Rodgers….I still think Arlovski can make a serious impact and maybe force another showdown with Fedor

  • David Andrest says:

    Jak: I suppose i have a different look, from the start it seemed as though Rogers was a fighter that was able to marketed, he had just ko’d AA and had zero losses, so everything that was known about him was ambiguous.As much as Fedor will sell, i think Fedor vs. Werdum would equal a sharp drop off because Werdum is just not a fighter that sells. And right now SF has great momentum, to me using Werdum actually would take them back a step. Even the casual fan who tuned in and saw Werdum/Silva likely won’t think Werdum will do better than Rogers, and the casual fan might actually know him from the AA fight or the JDS fight, which isn’t good.Overeem right now seems to be a lost cause, he’s over in japan fighting guys like James Thompson, that should be enough to stop with the Overeem talk until he is actually physically standing in a SF cage across from his opponent.I hope SF creates another great card and build up like Saturday night. But there is way to much knee jerk reaction to single fights and single cards right now. And SF still has a lot of work to do to build on their next card.I already know this will get “disliked” because it’s not 100% in agreement with the article. but whatever, that’s how MMA forums roll.

    Jak, I don’t think you’ll get a thumbs down from anyone with any common sense. I don’t need to agree with anything that is posted, But I for one appreciate anyone who has a well thought out opinion.

    And I agree , SF has a lot of work to do, but I don’t get the feeling they are running from death ( like many have felt) Now they need to continue to buckle down and provide good cards and the rest should sort itself out.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    If that tournament were to take place I belive we would end up seeing a rematch of Saturday nights fight in the finals. Although a very solid fighter Werdum really needs to take some wrestling classes if he wants to beat some top guys- he is tough, has the stand up to get by and has world class grappling. Please let him train with some great wrestlers for about 6 months or so, he would make a great training partner for Cain.
    Rogers will likely come out and tear Overeems head off.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    their is no need to put hopes on a man like Overeem who dosent care about SF all together. Stripping him of the belt is the first thing they should do. Unless Overeem has no problem coming over and losing his belt like a man but I wont believe it until I see it.
    Having Fedor speed bag Werdum in the first would be fun to watch but who wants to see that fight when imo he lost to big foot and Saturday.
    SF still has a lot of work to do in that div. you can sell Fedor for only so long. What will they do when the run out of satisfactory opponents in front of him??? Watch Fedor continually speed bag the same 3to4 HW over and over again will get boring.
    Having 4 HW battling for the title will only give you 3 meaningful fights. They need to build up the roster while they figure out their title situation

  • BiG BaD BuLL says:

    I’ve seen a number of statements on various forums pertaining to ” Fedor should have had an immediate title shot.etc…” I am actually inclined to disagree. I think having fedor fight a number of other heavy weights before a title shot is an ingenius plan. His mystique and ability to finish fights will infect legions of new viewers, and should spike significantly when its time to scrap for the strap. At the same time, it gives the strikeforce “recruiters” time to expand their rosters. They don’t need to be as deep as the UFC overnight, nor do I feel they need all big name athletes. I think that of more importance for success will be fighters that have a tract record of putting on exciting fights. consider this: would you rather watch a less technical but exciting fight or a boring fight with big names?

    2 other things that I feel would be intelligent moves:
    1. Get Bobby Lashley. the guy has a lot of potential, is a face that many will recognize, and has the type of daunting physique that many people associate with fighters.

    2. Have a female fight on every card. While I understand that this isn’t for everyone, in my experience, females often put on a better show than their male counterparts. It’s also something that the UFC doesn’t have, and will set strikeforce apart.

  • edub says:

    I think this is an article very dependant on the perfect scenario. One thing that always seems to screw something like this up is injuries.

    My scenario would be to have Fedor fight Overeem right away(or as fast as possible). SF is partners with Dream so they should be able to have access to Overeems highlights from there. Build up that fight more than you did with Rogers. Keep the same base with your marketing strategy in show Fedor as the best of all time, but go over the top with overeem. Sell him as a dominant force from Japan that is not only the SF hw champion, but also the best striker in the hw division(Which might not be too far fetched).

    Now on the same card have two hw fights out of Rogers vs Werdum. If either dominates you have a built in contender. If they fail to entertain you still have at least three months(considering CBS doesnt decide to speed up their events) to make your next move and if you want more time just move Mousasi, Cung Le, or Diaz and Shields to headline status to give another opponent to emerge.

  • HonorableAggression says:

    Fedor’s camp is saying rogers is one of the top 3 HW’s. I like diversity in my mma, it doesnt have to be under the zuffa roster to be good, but c’mon, like it or not if you’ve never fought in the ufc you have no argument for calling yourself top 3 (with the notable exception of fedor for obvious reasons), the ufc simply has so many of the top 10 in any given weight class LW and up. I wish it was easier for ufc guys to fight in other promotions but it would be very stupid business-wise, just on the basis of health alone. They have 3 champs out injured and one sick and they only fight for ufc, lol, so you can imagine how risky them fighting on a SF or Dream card would be, not to mention the financial reasoning. In the end, we all know we hear things like rogers is top 3 and no matter how you feel you mentally reference him to some big ufc HW’s he’ll probably never fight and guess at how he would do, its frustarting as a fan that so many matchups can’t happen and organizations all try to convince people they work with the best, its like a religious discussion; no one is gonna convince anyone of anything they didnt already have their mind open to.

  • twyg says:

    First like the idea of stripping Overeem of the title. Next they should ask Fedor to drop the WAMMA belt as well (don’t know if they showed it on tv but they did intoduce him as WAMMA champ in the building). If they do have a tourny they should do it as has been outlined in the article. You want Fedor/Alistair in the finals.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    twyg i heard them introduced him asn WAMMA champ as well.

  • H3ro says:

    StrikeForce only has 4 heavyweights and only one(Fedor) really dominates and attracts viewers. Who really wants to watch Werdum vs. Fedor?? Fedor is going to KO Werdum in 1st round. I mean..cmon…Werdum got KO’d by Junior Dos Santos and Fedor’s punch is much harder than Dos Santos.

    I’d rather watch Fedor fight Brett Rogers again. It’ll be more entertaining than any other fights SF has to offer. Allistair uses special vitamins which doesn’t allow him to fight in the U.S. It’s called cheating, so I don’t even count that guy. Who else in SF would give Fedor a challenge? Bobby Lashley?? He’ll finish is career with the UFC to prove he is the best of the best.

  • BigDave says:

    Ok first off Coker is not going to strip Overeem of his title he has made that evident by not already doing that with cung li who vacated or would still be the mw champ. So making a fight with overeem and rogers would make no sence because you can’t give a guy coming off a loss a title shot. The only thing that makes any logic atol would be to make a fight between werdum and fedor with the winner there fighting Overeem.

    H3ro: Who really wants to watch Werdum vs. Fedor??Fedor is going to KO Werdum in 1st round.I mean..cmon…Werdum got KO’d by Junior Dos Santos and Fedor’s punch is much harder than Dos Santos.

    I would love to see werdum vs. fedor. For you to say well werdum got KO’d by Dos Santos like thats a bad thing is assinine. Werdum will make a much better test for fedor then rogers did because werdum is more well rounded. Although I don’t see werdum beating Fedor, but rogers could fight fedor 100 times and get KO’d 50 times and being submitted the other 50 times.

  • Snoop Dogg says:

    First I would like to say that a tournament would be awesome but SF hw division is not deep enough for it. How about we put the top contender up against the champ. Fedor vs Overeem that is the best matchup and the only person that has a slight chance of beating Fedor.

    Whoever things that Rogers was even close to winning on Saturday was clearly drunk or high. Fedor threw a guy that outweighed him by 40 pounds around like a rag doll then he turned him to stone with one punch.

    Rodgers came into the biggest fight of his life out of shape what is going to change in the future nothing. Mark my words in 2 years Brett Rogers won’t even be considered as a top HW.

    Overeem is a fantastic kickboxer and would have no problems putting Roger to sleep. Rogers has some big power I cannot deny that but his technique is terrible hands down by his chest. Always brings his hands back to his stomach instead of chin after throwing a punch. Think of Overeem who is about the same height, stronger and faster it will not end good for Rogers.

    I say give Fedor the title shot he deserves that atleast then maybe have one of these matchups.

    Rogers vs Big foot I think this would be a good fight for SF to put on to build up Rogers he seems to have some drawing power. So I would give him a chance to win. I think big Foot would be more likely to stand with Rogers than Werdum. I think Werdum would take the fight to the ground and catch Rodgers in a submission. I could also see Werdum leg kicking his way to a decision on the feet also so I would avoid Werdum.

    Arlovsky vs Werdum the first fight was kind of boring but rematches always sell. I would say winner gets the next title shot loser gets winner of Rogers vs Silva. Arlovsky will always sell tickets and he had a great fight against Fedor so a rematch would be welcomed and be a huge success. Lets say Overeem somehow gets by Fedor, fighting either of these 2 would be very exciting. A stand up war with arlovsky and a fight between Werdum’s jits vs Overeem’s awesome guilltine.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Fedor in Strikeforce is a re-run of Fedor in Affliction. The only serious threat to Fedor in Strikeforce(and he may not be that servious, frankly) is Werdum. In that respect, it’s like Fedor v. Barnett, who was the biggest threat to Fedor in Affliction. The fight with Barnett fell through because of Barnett’s use of ‘roids. Meanwhile, Werdum’s amazing increase in muscle mass gets mentioned on a regular basis and raises questions about whether he’ll be fighting in the US any time soon. So once again Fedor has effectively cleaned out the org., and you have to ask where he goes next. That’s an increasingly cogent question since UFC doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

  • TMel says:

    Like the comments- very well thought out for the most part. Nice to see intelligent conversation regarding MMA. Conversations usually degrade to Fedor vs Lesnar, Lesnar would kill him, Fedor’s a fraud, etc.
    I’ve been watching Fedor fight from the get go in 2000/01 with Pride. I’ve liked him from the beginning- the way he fights, his humble demeanor, etc. I remember thinking -why hasn’t Fedor fought Josh Barnett? Obviously Barnett has problems with the juice but, to me, he has always been the guy that could give Fedor some problems. I think any discussion of the top of the top heavyweights has to include Barnett. If he could just clean up the roid issues he would be a fantastic addition to any group, especially Strikeforce.
    It just kills me when I have discussions with people (even supposedly mma intelligent) who say that Fedor hasn’t fought anybody, etc. Fedor has BY FAR the best mma resume out there, he has fought the best of the heavyweights in the world (when Pride was in its prime) and whose only loss was via a ridiculous decision (by cut) in the early minutes of a fight against a lesser opponent- whom he later decimated. How many fighters in any organization at any weight class can say they have not lost a fight in 10 years? Answer- none.
    Just ask BJ Penn who his mma hero is- he has said Fedor- and you know he caught hell from Dana White by saying that.
    The top 5 heavyweights in the world (in any organization), in my opinion of course, is- 1. (by a wide margin) Fedor, 2. Lesnar (short resume but extremely strong and gifted wrestler) 3. Mir (new Mir that is) 4. Big Nog and 5. Josh Barnett (if he can clean up and continue training he could rapidly rise up the list). Barnett is the real deal even though he has pissed a lot of people off with his latest drug test failure. I think Barnett could beat #3 and #4 if he is at the top of his game, as a matter of fact he has already beaten Noguera once in pride- 1-1 all- time vs Noguera. The only person (other than Mir) that Noguera hasn’t beaten that he has fought is Fedor- 0-2 vs Fedor all-time.
    By the way, I think after Couture fights Vera (why?) he will end his relationship with UFC and look for a final fight against Fedor- and it will happen- with Strikeforce. Just a weak (and hopeful) prediction.

  • neijia says:

    BiG BaD BuLL: I’ve seen a number of statements on various forums pertaining to ” Fedor should have had an immediate title shot.etc…” I am actually inclined to disagree. I think having fedor fight a number of other heavy weights before a title shot is an ingenius plan. His mystique and ability to finish fights will infect legions of new viewers, and should spike significantly when its time to scrap for the strap. At the same time, it gives the strikeforce “recruiters” time to expand their rosters. They don’t need to be as deep as the UFC overnight, nor do I feel they need all big name athletes. I think that of more importance for success will be fighters that have a tract record of putting on exciting fights. consider this: would you rather watch a less technical but exciting fight or a boring fight with big names?

    lol yes it is ingenious. and yes you’re right. i’d rather watch idiots on jerry springer have an exciting fight than technical fighters get caught in a stupid 3 rounds of lay and pray for a championship belt. strikeforce should find exciting fights instead of name fights. the card is free, the casual fans don’t know the names anyway, so the dynamic of fans paying to see particular names just isn’t there. on the other side of the equation, they must have exciting fights because people will feel no qualms about changing the channel away from free content (and the ads that pay for the content). they haven’t invested $59 or whatever.

    the economics (based on ppv vs. ads) are totally different and the strategy of strikeforce has to follow the money. the “product” should be very different from that offered by ufc and ppv.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    I am the future of the Stikeforce HW division. Me and Kalib Starnes.

  • TMel says:

    To address the comment made earlier about signing exciting fighters and therefore more exciting fights- I think most people prefer the exciting knock down-drag out fights, but unfortunately as the fighters get more skilled and they fight more skilled fighters themselves the fights can become more like chess matches and therefore much more boring to watch (especially to the uninitiated, true MMA fan). But to ensure that the fights don’t become wrestling matches or grab and hold fests Strikeforce should take a page from Pride’s rulebook and add the card system. When you start taking a fighter’s money he or she will generally turn up the heat. Now I don’t want to see fighters get careless and fight with reckless abandon (or do I?) just because they start losing a few bucks but it definitely helped Pride’s fights and actually makes the fans voices heard during the fight- they boo- the ref starts lookin for that yellow card, no action, 10% off the top from the offending fighter (or fighters). Not a bad idea to me- thoughts?

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