Morning Report: Mike Goldberg set to return; UFC Tonight reveals list of 20 Strikeforce fighters moving to UFC

Ethan Miller

Much of the recent discussion surrounding the death of Strikeforce has been speculation regarding which fighters will be making the leap over to the UFC, and which fighters will be left shopping their services on the open market. Well, now we have a better idea of what to expect.

Appearing on Tuesday's edition of UFC Tonight, MMA Fighting's own Ariel Helwani revealed a list of 20 Strikeforce fighters already anticipating a debut in the Octagon in the coming months. Aside from obvious names like Daniel Cormier and Gilbert Melendez, several notable additions to the UFC roster have been confirmed. The list reads as follows:

Heavyweight

  • Daniel Cormier (11-0)

Light Heavyweight

Middleweight

Welterweight

Lightweight

It's important to note that this list is far from definitive, as further announcements may be forthcoming throughout the next few weeks. But even with what we know so far, it's clear this mass migration will provide a much needed boost in talent -- particularly at middleweight -- for the increasingly exhaustive schedule the UFC expects to shoulder over the next 12 months.

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7 MUST-READ STORIES

Strikeforce to UFC list. Appearing on UFC Tonight, MMA Fighting's own Ariel Helwani revealed a list of 20 former Strikeforce fighters who are expected to make the transition to the UFC. The list is not yet definitive, and further announcements may be forthcoming.

FOX 7 bookings. A pair of highly-anticipated crossover bouts -- Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez and Daniel Cormier vs. Frank Mir -- has been confirmed for the main and co-main event of UFC on FOX 7, which takes place April 20, 2013, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA.

Goldberg to return. Longtime UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg will resume his regular duties alongside Joe Rogan later this month at UFC on FOX 6. Goldberg was a late scratch from December's UFC 155 event due to illness.

Jones responds to Cormier. Said UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones on UFC Tonight when asked to respond to Daniel Cormier's continual callouts: "I wish he would just do it and just stop talking about it. I am open to fighting the best guys in the world."

Strikeforce ratings plummet. Viewership for last Saturday's Strikeforce finale "tied the lowest rating for a Saturday night major MMA show in Showtime's six years of broadcasting the sport," drawing just 310,000 viewers and a 0.82 rating.

Rampage talks Teixeira. Speaking on yesterday's UFC conference call, disgruntled former champ Rampage Jackson said he lost respect for his "cowardly" opponent Glover Teixeira after discovering from "snitches on the internet" that Teixeira was preparing a wrestle-heavy gameplan for the pair's UFC on FOX 6 meeting.

Strikeforce record book. The folks over at FightMetric have compiled a list of notable records from Strikeforce's seven-year tenure. Did you know of the 605 total fights held under the promotion's banner, only 35 of them were women's fights? Or that Nick Diaz led all fighters with a sterling average of 9.02 significant strikes landed per minute (which, weirdly, also happens to be 209 backward)? Check out the complete list here.

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MEDIA STEW

Young Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell and Gary Goodridge with no gloves and a complete arsenal of soccer kicks, stomps and headbutts at their disposal? Yeah, this highlight clip from the late-1990s International Vale Tudo Championship is absolutely savage.

(HT: Reddit)

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Rampage Jackson presenting his feelings on the UFC: "I feel like they're getting rich off all of us."

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For those that don't know, the Rough N' Rowdy is a two-day, single-elimination amateur tournament held in the heart of Charleston County. But all you really need to know is two things: the heavyweight division is listed from 185 to a whopping 400 pounds, and one of the rules of the tournament is "Must be Rough N' Rowdy!!!" Considering that, this video of Barstool Sports mock-covering the event is exactly what you think it'll be. (Potentially NSFW. Look at the thumbnail and use your best judgement.)

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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Something tells me Mike Delaney, John George and Simon Diouf had no clue what they were getting themselves into back in 2008.

(HT: Reddit)

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Something to consider: Bjorn Rebney's interest in Josh Barnett? Surprisingly low. Bjorn Rebney's interest in Rampage Jackson? Relatively high.

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It's almost required to post this in honor of Mike Goldberg's upcoming return. (But in all seriousness, it's good to hear you're back in good health, buddy.)

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SURGERY DAY

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IT'S TIME

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PLOTTING THE COURSE

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SO...

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A PREDICTION

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YOU'D RATHER FORCIBLY FIGHT TO THE DEATH?

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IT HAS BEGUN

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CHAEL DOESN'T ASK FOR APOLOGIES, HE DEMANDS THEM

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Tuesday, January 15, 2013):

  • UFC on FOX 7: Benson Henderson (18-2) vs. Gilbert Melendez (21-2) confirmed as main event
  • UFC on FOX 7: Daniel Cormier (11-0) vs. Frank Mir (16-6) confirmed as co-main event
  • UFC on FOX 7: Dan Hardy (25-10) vs. Matt Brown (16-11)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees cyborg73 ask: Should UFC Resurrect the Tournament?

Let's brainstorm this for a moment. For those of you that have only jumped onto the UFC bandwagon post-Zuffa era, you are probably scratching your head, wondering what the heck I'm talking about. But yes, the TOURNAMENT was, indeed, an integral part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's rich history. From the very beginning, all the way from UFC #1 in 1993, until it was discontinued after UFC #17, the tournament was the way to decide who was the best fighter of the night. There were no time limits, no judges, no rounds, and fighters would have to fight more than once in order to advance, and in the end, there was only one winner. Since the demise of the tournament, the UFC game changed drastically, and each event now had everything mentioned in the previous sentence. Now I don't want to "type" your ear off, but here is a very unique concept, that if UFC considered it, I would bet my house that it would definitely shake things up big time for the company, as well as the fans of the UFC, old and new.

Perhaps UFC should give us something new, by bringing back the old. Now I don't mean bring back all the old rules as well, but maybe a slight amalgamation of the old and new versions of the UFC. Each fight would still have three ringside judges, and one round of maybe ten minutes rather than five, like the first rounds in the old Pride fights. If I, personally, could play cardmaker for a moment, the best use of this idea would be to base an entire pay-per-view event on one weight class. Let's explore this a bit further.

The Welterweight tournament would begin with eight welterweight fighters (chosen from: Carlos Condit, Rory McDonald, Jake Ellenberger, Johnny Hendricks, Martin Kampann, Demian Maia, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Erick Silva, Nick Diaz, the returning Robbie Lawler, Dan Miller, Nate Marquardt), all paired off against one another in the quarterfinals. The winners of those fights would then be paired off against one another in the semi-finals, with the winners of the semis facing off in the finals, to determine the next challenger for the 170 lb. title, currently held by Georges St. Pierre.

On another night, we could have a Lightweight Tournament go down the same way, with eight lightweight fighters (chosen from: Diego Sanchez, Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Edson Barboza, John Makdessi, Grey Maynard, Gilbert Melendez, Jamie Varner, Joe Lauzon, Eddie Alvarez if UFC can grab him, Nate Diaz, and another fighter who belongs in this division and should have never moved up in weight, B.J. Penn), competing until the end, to determine the next challenger for current champ, Benson Henderson.

And if you aren't licking your lips at the concept yet, how about a tournament night of Middleweights (chosen from: Costa Philippou, Chris Weidman, Michael Bisping, Alan Belcher, Vitor Belfort, Cung Le, Hector Lombard, Jake Shields, and Rashad Evans, who had recently contemplated moving down a weight class from 205) with the winner facing current champ, Anderson Silva.

So you got the idea. The same kind of tournament could be done with the smaller weight classes, to bring some much needed exposure to the Flyweights, Bantamweights and Featherweights that don't get the recognition they truly deserve. The possibilities are almost endless. 2012 has not exactly been the best year for UFC. They are in dire need of some new ideas. To bring back the classic tournament concept to the current product, if only twice a year, would almost certainly reignite fan interest, thus increasing business. What do YOU think?

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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