Strikeforce will be returning from a six-month absence on Jan. 12 with a stacked card. The event will mark the end of the promotion, as the company will close its doors forever.

It’s been quite a run for the upstart San Jose-based promotion and the company is set to go out with a bang. Three title fights will be featured and the return of the Strikeforce Grand Prix winner, Daniel Cormier, is set to fill out the card.

If the title holders retain their titles as both Gilbert Melendez and Luke Rockhold are expected to do, it could set both men up for some interesting match-ups once they fold into the UFC.

Let’s start with Rockhold.

The AKA champion has stated before that he wants to fight UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva and it could prove to be an interesting title unification bout. Outside of a handful of fighters, there aren’t a lot of title challengers at 185 pounds. The list grows even smaller when you consider who “The Spider” actually wants to fight.

A fight with Rockhold isn’t going to be a big money maker for the UFC given the fact that Rockhold is anything but a household name, but it is a fight Silva has expressed interest in. I’m not sure Rockhold brings anything spectacular to take down Silva, but it’d be certainly worth a pay-per-view buy.

The other match-up fans have been wanting for years is lightweight champion Melendez against Frankie Edgar. Of course that isn’t likely to happen now that Edgar has dropped the belt and dropped a weight class. Now, Melendez would face either Benson Henderson or Nate Diaz to unify the two lightweight titles.

If Diaz wins, then both men will be in quite a pickle as they both train at the same camp. Will Melendez and Diaz be willing to forgo their training bonds to put on an entertaining scrap for the fans? I feel Diaz wouldn’t mind as he embodies the warrior mindset, but I’m not so sure about Melendez being so eager to face his training partner.

He may also not be so eager to face Henderson should the lightweight champion retain his belt in December. Henderson has two wins over Edgar, who fights a very similar style to Melendez. I believe Edgar is the better fighter, so if Henderson can take him out, why wouldn’t I believe he could do the same against Melendez?

The Strikeforce card also features a welterweight title bout between Nate Marquardt and Tarec Saffiedine. Saffiedine is a good striker but will need to shore up his ground game if he hopes to win a title unification bout. Georges St-Pierre is one of the best wrestlers in MMA and Carlos Condit is no slouch on the ground either.

If Marquardt walks away with the title, I can see him dropping the belt in order to avoid a possible confrontation with GSP. The two have been training partners for years and I don’t see the two willingly squaring off for the title. I could see the same happening with Condit, as both train under the Greg Jackson umbrella of coaches but Marquardt does tend to spend more of his time in Colorado.

If fans are looking forward to any title unification super bouts, the only one they may see is at middleweight; and even that is a fight that isn’t on anyone’s radar at the moment. I see Melendez and Marquardt dropping the titles (should they still have them) to avoid fighting teammates and going about their separate careers.

The unification bouts won’t be anywhere near as good as when the fighters from Pride folded in, but there’s still some entertaining match-ups to be found once Strikeforce closes its doors.

Photo: Strikeforce Lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.