source: John Morgan and Dann Stupp | mmajunkie.com
After dropping a previously undefeated Roger Gracie with a devastating right hand at Saturday's "Strikeforce Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov" event, former Strikeforce champ Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal (8-1 MMA, 3-1 SF) made it clear he'd like to take a rematch with the lone man to beat him, Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante (11-3 MMA, 4-2 SF).
But with a little post-fight consideration, Lawal said he also wouldn't mind a matchup with current Strikeforce champ Dan Henderson (28-8 MMA, 3-1 SF).
However, there's one small snag in the plans. Henderson is strongly rumored to be in the process of finalizing a return to the UFC. And if that's the case, Lawal said he's not interested in fighting for a belt. You see, vacant titles just aren't his thing.
"If Dan has the belt and is in Strikeforce, I'll fight Dan for the belt," Lawal said at the evening's post-event press conference. "If it's vacant, (Gegard) Mousasi can fight someone for the belt.
"I want to fight someone who has the belt. I don't want to fight for no vacant title."
With Cavalcante also picking up an impressive win over Yoel Romero at Saturday's event, a rematch of their August 2010 meeting would certainly seem to make sense. But much of that depends on Henderson's status. The 41-year-old champion is currently a free agent, and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker insist talks are ongoing. However, he refused to reveal whether or not those discussions were proving fruitful or if a UFC move was inevitable.
"We're still negotiating with Dan, and it's an ongoing process, so we'll have to see how that plays out," Coker told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Either way, Lawal's win over Gracie was a scintillating return to action after more than a year away from the sport while recovering from knee surgery. And while ratings figures for the event have yet to be revealed, the crowd in attendance at Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena was sparse.
The minuscule gate was the latest sign that Strikeforce's future is far from certain. Lawal admitted the turnout was disappointing, but he still seemed to take some pride in the promotion that has employed him since December 2009.
"I wish more people had been here to see it, but you know how things go," Lawal said. "But with Strikeforce, there are always great fights. You can't deny it."
With the promotion itself in flux, determining the futures of individual Strikeforce fighters is a near-impossible task. Who's moving to the UFC? What's the status of the titles, and what do they really mean, anyway?
Those are all questions left to be answered by suits, as far as Lawal is concerned. He's got two names on his radar, and he's leaving it up to Strikeforce to hand him either one.
"My choice is Dan for the belt," Lawal said. "And if I can't get Dan, 'Feijao.' I'm going to knock him out."