It has been almost three years since one of the more pivotal moments in Mixed Martial Arts occurred. In March 2011, it was announced that the UFC would buy out Strikeforce. As soon as the announcement was made, people started dreaming about potential matchups in the organization. Thoughts of Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz and Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem began rolling through the imaginations of fans. Then reality hit.
Both of the aforementioned fights have occurred in the past two years and neither lived up to expectation. A sick Lesnar fell to the knees of Overeem and Diaz was out battled by GSP.
Since he destroyed Lesnar, Overeem has not lived up to expectation. There were plans to rush the Dutchman into a title shot with then champion Junior dos Santos, but a steroid scandal killed off any hopes of that. Then he lost two fights in a row to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne.
Highly touted coming out of Strikeforce, Diaz has suffered a similar fate as Overeem. After dominating B.J. Penn in his UFC debut, Diaz has dropped two fights (GSP and Carlos Condit) straight. Both fights were for some version of the UFC welterweight strap. He was also suspended for marijuana use. Now he sits in “retirement.”
Then there is former Strikeforce standout Jake Shields. Much like the other two aforementioned fighters, Shields was rushed into a title fight after barely making it by Martin Kampmann by split-decision. He would eventually fall to GSP in his only title bid and then lose to Jake Ellenberger.
Shields appears to be on an upward climb. He has won three of his past four fights (having one fight end in a no contest).
The return of Dan Henderson to the UFC looked promising as he waged war against Shogun Rua in his return match, winning the fight by unanimous decision. He is now on a three-fight losing streak to Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort as mumbles of retirement start to surface.
Although the light is beginning to burn out on the some of the big-name fighters from Strikeforce, not all have suffered the same fate. Gilbert Melendez is currently 1-1 in the UFC and still controls his own destiny, as he looks to pursue another title bid against lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
In the same division, Josh Thomson defeated former lightweight contender Nate Diaz and was scheduled to fight Pettis for the title until the bout got scrapped. He is still in position to receive a title fight as he faces former champion Benson Henderson at the end of January.
Former Strikeforce dark horse Robbie Lawler will be competing for the welterweight title in the upcoming months against Johny Hendricks. Lawler was one fighter whom was rarely mentioned when the Strikeforce/UFC merger occurred.
There are several other former Strikeforce fighters who are beginning to make a name for themselves in the UFC including Daniel Cormier (who has moved to light heavyweight in hopes of earning a title shot), Josh Barnett (who recently lost to Travis Browne) and Ronaldo Souza (who is possibly one win away from a middleweight title shot).
While a few big name Strikeforce fighters still have some fight left in them, many have fallen by the wayside.