Daniel Cormier may have scored the biggest win of his career when he KO’d Antonio Silva in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Semifinals last night, but it came at a cost. The Olympic wrestler broke his right hand on the chin of “Bigfoot” with the very first punch he connected with.
“I kind of hurt my hand on the very first right hand when he went down,” said Cormier, with his right hand wrapped up at the post-fight press conference. “When he got up, I was like, ‘How am I going to get through 15 minutes with my hand hurting like it was?’ But I kept going. I kept throwing it.”
The right hand dropped Silva, and more or less took him out of the fight, but the injury could take Cormier out of the tournament. With the win on Saturday night, Cormier punched his ticket to the finals of the Grand Prix. He is scheduled to meet Josh Barnett, who was always victorious in his semifinal bout, choking out Sergei Kharitonov at the end of the first round.
“If Daniel wasn’t available for an extended period of time, we’d consider another opponent (for Barnett),” said Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. “We’ll wait and see how his hand is after X-rays.”
While Coker is hoping that Cormier will be available for the finals, when tournament favorite and Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem wanted more time to recover from an injury in order to continue in the tournament, he was released by the organization. His slot ended up going to Cormier. He ended up making the most of his opportunity and while some doubted him, he never doubted himself.
“We always train for the hardest fight we can imagine (at American Kickboxing Academy). I anticipated [Silva] going three hard rounds. I’ve seen him go through rounds in all his big fights,” said Cormier. “I said this very from the very beginning: ‘When ‘Bigfoot’ gets in trouble, he takes guys down.’ And after I got him with the first right hand, you guys saw him try to take me down, and when that didn’t happen, I sort of forced him to keep standing. He never got his bearings.”
*PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE*