Thursday, October 27, 2011

Steven Morrocco: One-armed Daniel Cormier already prepping for Strikeforce bout with Josh Barnett

Daniel Cormier can bounce back from a busted hand because he's the Wolverine.

If he was a mere mortal and not a (fictional) superhero character, he might have been forced to bow out of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix finals in which he meets Josh Barnett (31-5 MMA, 2-0 SF).

"Because I am Wolverine, I was able to get the cast off," Cormier (9-0 MMA, 6-0 SF) joked during Monday's new edition of HDNet's "Inside MMA."

Until a few weeks ago, this cast sheathed Cormier's right hand, which he broke on the skull of Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva during their fight in the semifinals of the grand prix. In a stunning rout, he stopped the Brazilian in the first round to earn a spot in the tournament finals.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told the program that the finals are scheduled for the first quarter of 2012. A date and venue have yet to be finalized.

"Once we kind of get a grip on Daniel's hand and we kind of have a lock on the date, then we can go out and book the venue and the state that we're going to go to," he said.

Cormier is proceeding ahead anyway.

"Now I'm doing one-hand sparring, doing my kicking and working on my cardio," he said. "Training camp has started."

It's been a whirlwind ride for the former Olympian, who until midway through this year was an alternate in the tournament. Now poised to earn a major MMA title in just a little over two years, Cormier is one of the more promising heavyweights in the division.

Standing in his way, of course, is the former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett, a seasoned veteran. Barnett punched his ticket to the finals with submission wins over Brett Rogers and Sergei Kharitonov.

"For a guy like Josh Barnett, for me not to be working hard for him at this point, trying to do a basic seven to 10 week camp is disrespectful to him, and it doesn't give me the best opportunity to win the fight," Cormier said.

So even if he's a one-armed wonder, Cormier won't leave anything to chance. But will his rush to recover push back the fight?

"I can tell you what, I'm optimistic," Coker said. "The cast was off two weeks ago, and he's out there training a little bit. Those guys at [American Kickboxing Academy] know what they're doing. They've been through this before with many of their athletes."

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