Strikeforce’s forthcoming heavyweight grand-prix has generated a lot of interest from fans ahead of it’s February 12th start date, and raised the question of whether the promotion finally has a product that can compete toe-to-toe with what the UFC has to offer in their own heavyweight division.
In a recent interview Dana White was asked for his thoughts on it. Somewhat surprisingly, White, who is generally more than happy to take a pop at his rivals, stops short of criticizing what Strikeforce are doing.
“You know how I feel about Strikeforce and the smaller leagues. Listen, putting on a heavyweight tournament. If that’s going to draw some interest for those guys, and they end up with somebody at the end who’s perceived as one of the top guys – I love that sh*t, love it. I honestly haven’t thought about it at all, but yeah, good for them,” White told Fighters.com.
In the interview White also talks about Brock Lesnar’s appointment as coach on The Ultimate Fighter season 13 which recently began filming in Las Vegas.
“It’s a great fit. I mean this thing fell in my lap. All these different names were getting bounced around. We were thinking about lots of different guys and, bang, Cain Velasquez gets injured, needs surgery, is going to be out for eight months. This heavyweight fight [between Lesnar and Dos Santos] makes all the sense in the world.”
As well as getting Lesnar back in the mix, White also ensured that Randy Couture would be stepping into the Octagon with Lyoto Machida despite recent rumors that he may be retiring.
“Randy’s one of those guys – you’ll hear people talking that Randy’s retired…Dude, Randy’s never going to retire, and as long as this guy is healthy and can still compete, and I still think he’s one of the top 10 in the world, so it’s never a tough conversation with him. He’s always got one toe in.”
Finally, White waxes lyrical about Frankie Edgar’s remarkable comeback to retain his lightweight title at UFC 125.
“I thought obviously he was going to get knocked out in the first round, and the way he overcame that first round and then came back in that fight…I mean, the people that watched that fight night, that’s a legendary fight that we’ll be talking about 15 years from now. And it just goes to show, this kid is so tough, so good, such an inspiration. I mean, I love Frankie Edgar.”
Watch Dana’s full interview below.