A quartet of MMA’s premier heavyweights face off in less than two weeks as part of the semifinal round of Strikeforce’s ongoing World Grand Prix with the race to the finish line made even more wide-open by the removal of Alistair Overeem for health-related and contractual reasons. Ready to rumble on September 10 in Cincinnati, former UFC heavyweight champ Josh Barnett will take on Russian finisher Sergei Kharitonov on one side of the bracket with undefeated Olympian Daniel Cormier clashing with ever-improving big-man Antonio Silva on the other.
However, before the foursome face off in the Queen City to get one step closer to crowning a heavyweight king, three of the card’s featured acts threw down in a conference call today. As always, Five Ounces of Pain was be listening in and reported back in real time with responses for our readers to enjoy!
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was also on hand answering questions about the event and providing other operational information.
Read below and see what sort of interesting nuggets and scintillating soundbytes spring forth from the festivities:
– Always respected Kharitonov’s ability, saying he kind of pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes in PRIDE by being a lot better boxer than perceived
– Feels Kharitonov looked great against Andrei Arlovski but “I’m not Arlovski”
– On the topic of wrestling, “It’s my job to finish people and I finish guys.”
– “Titles are a spoil of war. You have to go win battle before you rape the dead of all their belongings.”
– Would love the title to be involved in the tournament but it doesn’t change his attitude towards getting the job done
– “It’s an opportunity for me to take a high-profile fight and springboard off (Silva)’s name.”
– Beating Monson gave him a huge boost of confidence as a competitor based on his respect of Monson’s accomplishments in the past, as well as being able to do so without needing to rely on his primary weapon (wrestling)
– Credits his coaches with the improved striking he showed against Monson / “I love boxing, I love kickboxing…striking…”
– Loves to fight but doesn’t think opponents should complain about the dominance of wrestlers / “It’s not me or Jon Fitch’s job to teach takedown defense. If he can’t defend a takedown, he deserves to lay on his back…”
– Didn’t take much from Mike Kyle’s performance against Silva based on the difference in their styles, said that he did notice Silva’s ability to recover from being rocked early
– Learned he shouldn’t go backwards against “Pezao” after watching the Fedor Emelianenko fight, to “just be willing to get into a fight with him”
– Kharitonov and Silva are not currently available and being “tracked down” at the moment
– A fight with Dan Henderson is planned but he can’t give specifics, kept things very vague on the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight contendership scene though Roger Gracie and “King” Mo Lawal are in the mix
– Confirms Cris Santos has been re-signed and says it’s possible she could fight before the end of the year
– Cormier was always under consideration for the tournament but they wanted to get him more fights, which happened, and they’re happy to have him in now
– Would love to put on a show in Canada but there’s nothing set / “We’re definitely interested.”
– Is now on the call
– Feels he will fight not only for himself but for teammate Alistair Overeem
– In regards to the controversy between Golden Glory and Zuffa, he says, “I will win. I must win.”