After a decisive and thorough victory over Josh Barnett to win the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, I see some suggesting that Daniel Cormier is an elite heavyweight, deserves to be ranked in the top five, and perhaps deserves a UFC title shot against the winner of Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir. I agree with all of those statements, but I would have made them before Cormier fought Barnett, as Cormier was SILVA’s #3 heavyweight going into that fight. In fact, I picked Cormier to win the tournament the moment he was announced as a replacement for Alistair Overeem. SILVA has been vastly improved since then, and I’ll admit to badly underrating Overeem at that time, but my thoughts on Cormier have been consistent: he’s an elite heavyweight and should be favored to beat the vast majority of top heavyweights.
Now, with others having caught up to the idea of Cormier as an elite fighter, SILVA has decided to take things a step further. In fact, Cormier is now the top-rated heavyweight in the world according to SILVA, with a SILVA score of 98.29.
So is this it? Is Cormier the best in the world now? Well, before I get too far ahead of myself, Junior dos Santos, currently #2 at heavyweight according to SILVA, will be fighting Frank Mir in the main event of UFC 146 on Saturday. And if dos Santos manages to beat Mir, his SILVA score will rise to 100.37… to put him back ahead of Cormier.
Here’s what I’ll say right now. Daniel Cormier has world-class wrestling, and has successfully applied his wrestling abilities to MMA. He has developed a striking game and submission game that are both very good, particularly his striking. He is now the kind of fighter who can fight on his terms, and it will take a serious talent indeed to be able to top Cormier both standing and on the ground.
Meanwhile, Junior dos Santos is an outstanding striker, one with both great precision and power. He has terrific takedown defense, and having trained with the Nogueira brothers for a while, I can only imagine his ground game is excellent as well. He does deserve to be regarded as the #1 heavyweight in the world, and he should be at the peak of his career right now.
If Junior dos Santos beats Frank Mir, and Daniel Cormier beats his mystery opponent in his next fight, the only fight to make as far as I’m concerned is dos Santos vs. Cormier for the UFC heavyweight championship, and this is simply because those are clearly the two best heavyweight fighters in the world.