The countdown is on for Strikeforce's heavyweight division.
Promotion officials are planning to conclude the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix -- most likely in the first quarter of 2012 -- after which, one final heavyweight fight will take place before the division folds.
"What you'll see after the tournament finals between Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett, is you'll see one more fight where the winner will fight a top-rated heavyweight," explained Showtime Sports Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza. "Then we're going to go back to focusing on our other weight classes."
As for the identity of the top-rated heavyweight, Strikeforce officials were somewhat vague, but didn't discount the idea of a UFC fighter filling the spot.
"Right now nothing is determined," Espinoza responded when asked about cross-promotion. "But we're definitely going to have some dialogue with Sean (Shelby) and everybody in Vegas to determine who that heavyweight will be."
According to UFC President Dana White, the final fight was commissioned at the request of Showtime Sports in an effort to send-off the division with a bang.
While the news may come as somewhat of a surprise, the recent departure of Fedor Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum, and Alistair Overeem left the Strikeforce cupboard much barer than the company anticipated. With a dearth of talent to fill the division, White felt it inevitable that the decision was reached.
"You guys have heard me say for years, heavyweight divisions aren't deep enough to create this huge division," he concluded. "So we're going to focus on the divisions that are strong."