When the UFC bought and absorbed Strikeforce, the question was how their fighters would fair in the UFC. Since then there has been, technically, six Strikeforce fighters to win UFC titles. Although I don’t know if I’d want to count Fabricio Werdum and Robbie Lawler because they started in the UFC. They did come from Strikeforce after that. Ronda Rousey is a weird one because there wasn’t a women’s division in the UFC before her. So naturally she still counts despite that.
My question now is, after these past seven years who are the top three imports from Strikeforce in the UFC. I’ve spent weeks thinking about this and analyzing everything. The top guy wasn’t hard at all. It was trying to balance the second and third spots, but I think I was able to get it.
Let’s get started:
Mr. Rockhold has landed in the three spot, 100% based on the lack of title defenses in his UFC career. In my opinion he is as skilled as the two fighters listed after him. But, he never defended his title successfully. Luke Rockhold to me, has the best grappling and top control in the middleweight division. His UFC resume includes: Tim Boetsch, Costas Philapou, Lyoto Machida, Michael Bisping, David Branch, and Chris Weidman. Finishing every one of those men inside three rounds. Out of all the fighters to cross over into the UFC him landing at three over the likes of Jacare Souza, Yoel Romero, Gegard Mousasi, Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez is huge for him.
The UFC welterweight Champion is the second best fighter to come from Strikeforce. Many remember his last fight in Strikeforce, it was the brutal KO loss he suffered at the hands of Nate Marquardt. Since that fight Woodley’s record is 8-2-1, including three title defenses. Tyron Woodley took the hard road to the title. With losses to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald it seemed almost like Tyron would never get his shot.
After two impressive wins over Dong Hyun Kim and Kelvin Gastelum, Tyron KO’d then Champion Robbie Lawler for the UFC title. Since then he has defended the title against Stephen Thompson twice and Demian Maia. I personally believe that Tyron Woodley has the best wrestling and power in his division. His next challenge will come in the form of Colby Covington later this year. Having the title defenses and wins over veterans like: Carlos Condit, Josh Koscheck, Paul Daley, and Tarec Saffiedine makes him, in my opinion, the second best Strikeforce import.
#1 without a doubt is Daniel Cormier. He is the former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion and the current UFC light-heavyweight Champion. DC has beaten every man he’s fought at heavyweight. Some of those names include: Josh Barnett, Roy Nelson, ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, and Frank Mir. He has twice defended his UFC title. He has wins at Light-Heavyweight over the likes of Alexander Gustafsson, Dan Henderson, Patrick Cummins, and Anthony Johnson twice.
All of this is happening well into Cormier’s late 30s. He has stated on his 40th birthday next February he will retire. He has the biggest fight of his life ahead of him against Stipe Miocic for the UFC heavyweight title. If Cormier can win, he will arguably be in the GOAT of MMA conversation. This could be considered the unification bout we never got. The last Strikeforce heavyweight champion versus the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.
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