• Strikeforce

Cormier batters Barnett to send out UFC message

ESPN staff
May 20, 2012
Danier Cormier battered Josh Barnett © Getty Images

Daniel Cormier laid down the type of marker that is likely to book him a place in the UFC in the near future after he dominated Josh Barnett to be crowned the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion.

Cormier, who is now undefeated in ten career fights, dished out a punishing five-round beating to Barnett, who himself has been heavily linked with a UFC return. After 25 minutes of action the judges rendered a unanimous decision, scoring the bout 50-45 50-45 49-46 in Cormier's favour.

Barnett revealed after the fight that he damaged his hand in the first round, claiming he felt pain after throwing a left hook. That said, the world class grappler still took a fearful beating from his rival.

"It was killing me but there was no way I was going to stop fighting," said Barnett, who fell to 31-6. "I was going make him earn this."

Cormier set the tone from the opening klaxon, landing a series of heavy shots against Barnett as the fight stayed standing. It wasn't just the power of Cormier that was impressive, though, as he mixed up his shots and peppered all areas of his rival.

Showing his evolving status as a mixed martial artist, Cormier produced two huge slams as he dominated Barnett throughout, only once finding himself in danger of losing the fight when Barnett threatened with a heel hook.

It was a night of survival for Barnett, who was on the ropes in rounds three and four. By the end of the bout his face was a bloody mess, testimony of the threat Cormier could pose in the UFC, although he must complete one more fight on his Strikeforce contract before moving across.

"I just want to focus on the fact I just beat Josh Barnett," Cormier said. "One year ago, that's not something I thought I could do."

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