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New Champion Cristiane 'Cyborg' Santos

Strikeforce Post-Fight Press Conference Recap

by Robert Sargent

Immediately following Strikeforce: "Carano vs Cyborg" on Saturday, the night's main card victors gathered at the post-fight press conference to offer their thoughts on the fights. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker also introduced a special guest.

Among the topics discussed at the press conference were future title bouts in each division and the returns of Strikeforce champions Alistair Overeem and Cung Le.

The press conference began with comments from Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker and DREAM Producer Keiichi Sasahara, as it was announced that the partnership between Strikeforce and DREAM - which saw DREAM star Mitsuhiro Ishida and referee Yuji Shimada both in action earlier in the night - will see an exchange of talent in the coming months. Strikeforce fighters will compete on DREAM cards and DREAM fighters will return to fight at additional Strikeforce events in the future.

Coker expressed a desire to bring vicious knockout artist "Marvellous" Melvin Manhoef over to Strikeforce to take on top middleweight star "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler, and DREAM mainstay (and WAMMA Unified Lightweight Champion) Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki in to face Gilbert "El Niņo" Melendez or Josh "The Punk" Thomson. Other cross-promotions are expected to be announced later this year.

The night's victors then took a turn at the microphone, with Jay Hieron reaffirming that he still wants to face Nick Diaz for the new Strikeforce Welterweight Championship, despite Diaz's missed drug test prior to his scheduled fight with Hieron on Saturday. Hieron went on to defeat former TUF star Jesse "JT Money" Taylor, but seemed to be disappointed at not getting his chance to wear title gold again. Scott Coker stated that Hieron would definitely compete for the title soon and thanked Hieron for taking the fight with Taylor on short notice.

Fabricio Werdum, who had quickly submitted Mike Kyle earlier in the evening, seemed to be ready for all challengers. Having rebounded from his shocking UFC loss to Junior dos Santos, Werdum stated that he would take on anyone that Strikeforce put in front of him. When the idea of a fight with #1-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko was brought up, Werdum smiled and showed interest in battling "The Last Emperor" if the opportunity arose.

DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix Champion and new Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi was as stoic as ever, but said that he had trained hard for his fight with Renato Sobral and was prepared for anything. When asked about his quick knockout of Sobral, Mousasi said that he had expected the fight to remain on the feet for a while, but was confident that he could take Sobral down and dominate there if necessary. He did just that, and knocked Sobral unconscious in the process. Mousasi will return to competition in the DREAM Super Hulk Tournament, but is expected to compete regularly for Strikeforce as well.

Strikeforce Interim Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez spoke at length about his TKO victory over old rival Mitsuhiro Ishida earlier in the evening. Melendez was able to completely nullify just about everything that Ishida attempted in the fight and retained his interim title in the process. Melendez also avenged the first loss of his career and will look to avenge his only other loss when he faces Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson at an upcoming Strikeforce show. Thomson was originally set to face Melendez on Saturday, but reinjured his leg and was forced to withdraw. Melendez was eager to rematch Thomson for the undisputed title.

Lastly, new Strikeforce Women's Lightweight (145-Pound) Champion Cristiane Santos spoke about her lopsided victory over MMA postergirl Gina Carano and future challengers. Santos said that she had trained very hard in all aspects of the game and was confident going into the fight. She felt that she was in no danger when Carano briefly held mount and was happy with her performance. When Santos was asked if she should be considered the new "Face of Women's MMA," she quipped that, "Gina can keep her title because I have mine [the Strikeforce Women's Lightweight Championship] right here."

While the 145-pound division is typically referred to as featherweight, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated that he had been informed that it was supposed to be the lightweight division for women and, therefore, the 145-pound women's title would be known as the Strikeforce Women's Lightweight Championship, rather than Featherweight. He did not elaborate on his reasons for this decision, and it is unknown whether this will stick for the long-term.

Following this, Coker directed the audience's attention to new Strikeforce addition Marloes Coenen (19-3-0), who is expected to be the first challenger for Santos's title. Coenen remained at the back of the room with her Golden Glory teammates and did not speak at the press conference, but was available for interviews afterwards. An interview with Marloes can be found here.

Gina Carano was not at the press conference and was not available for interviews. She was said to be still under the care of medical personnel.

(Click photos to view larger versions)


Strikeforce Post-Fight Press Conference


Strikeforce Post-Fight Press Conference


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