(Jason "Mayhem" Miller, shown here with two of the countless enemies he’s made over the years.)
Losing your middleweight champ to the UFC after his contract runs out? Disaster. But Strikeforce plans to turn their lemons into lemonade with an upcoming eight-man tournament that will crown a new champion in their deepest division. Here’s what King Coker had to say about the MWGP he’ll put together if Jake Shields splits the scene:
A two-event tournament means that the semi-finals and finals could potentially be held on the same night, Japan-style. And looking at that lineup, we see a lot of potential for sick matchups and serious grudge-settling. Think about it…
Jason Miller vs. Nick Diaz: Nashville Justice. Diaz was part of the Cesar Gracie crew that gave Miller an in-ring stomping after Mayhem butted into Jake Shields’s post-fight interview in April, so there’s some history there. Who would come out on top in a fair fight?
Jason Miller vs. Ronaldo Souza: Grudge Match, Part 3. Souza is up 1-0 with 1 no-contest in their series, after winning a decision against Miller in June 2008, then being stopped by an illegal soccer kick at DREAM.9, which spurred Miller to call Souza a "vagina-head Brazilian."
Jason Miller vs. Tim Kennedy: The Great American Rubber Match. Tim Kennedy won a decision over Miller at an Extreme Challenge tournament in 2003, but Mayhem out-pointed Kennedy in a 2007 rematch for HDNet Fights.
Dan Henderson vs. Kazuo Misaki: The "PRIDE Never Die" Rubber Match. Each man owns a decision win over the other from a pair of back-to-back PRIDE Bushido meetings in 2006. Misaki took the second one; time to give Hendo a chance to settle the score on his home turf.
Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler: History Repeats Itself. Back in 2004, Diaz shocked fans in his second Octagon appearance by scoring a second-round knockout against Lawler at UFC 47. Could he do it again six years later?
And of course, Scott Smith may have the chance to avenge losses against Lawler and Diaz. (Or more likely, take additional beatings from them.) Personally, I’m already sold. Everything’s more interesting when you put it in tournament format. Open-Weight In-Law Visit GP 2010! See what I mean?