White talks Cormier and Melendez in immediate title shots
With the closing of Strikeforce comes the welcoming of even more talent into the UFC fold in 2013. AKA stand-out Daniel Cormier and Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez are atop the list of anticipated imports. So much in fact that UFC president Dana White has hinted at a possible title fight for the two in their premiere.
“[Cormier] is going to bring a lot of excitement to the heavyweight or light heavyweight division,” White said following Saturday night’s UFC 155 event in Las Vegas. “And he could be next in line to fight (Jon) Jones.”
It was a breakthrough performance put on by Daniel Cormier in Strikeforce, as he emerged as the promotions heavyweight grand prix winner, taking out Antonio Silva (via KO) and former UFC champ Josh Barnett (via decision). Looking to capitalize in a new division, Cormier has clarified that he will now be looking to move down to 205 in order to evade his training partner, the UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
“I have so much respect for both of those guys,” White said. “They can go wherever they want. If they want to fight each other at heavy, I’m cool with that. If [Cormier] wants to go to 205, I’m cool with that. Either way.”
As for the lightweight champ, who has looked phenomenal against tough opponents Josh Thompson, Jorge Masvidal, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki – Gilbert Melendez may be moved ahead of a very competitive line in his UFC debut, according to White.
“We’ll see, but we’ll probably bring him in and give him a title shot,” White said. “I talked to [Melendez] tonight, and he and I are going to get together soon.We’re going to talk about his future in the UFC.”
Of course, none of this is in stone, as White went on to clarify. The landscape of the divisions can change dramatically in a few months. With Strikeforce looking to put on its last event on January 12, the transition will take time.