MMA Power Rankings -- HEAVYWEIGHT

Updated: May 21, 2012, 6:01 AM ET
By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com
Monday, May 21
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There was buzz about the one-time Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier before he ever made his way to Strikeforce, but nobody expected this. The 33-year old Cormier found his way into the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix via two parts skill and one part luck, yet once in he seized the opportunity in full. Cormier decisioned veteran Josh Barnett to become the champion of a tournament never intended for him. In the process, he looked like an immovable object -- like a hydrant with heavy hands. He used his wrestling to advantage, and his speed to get the job done. He hoisted Barnett and dumped him to the canvas without so much as a grunt. These things shouldn't look so easy.

No surprise then that Cormier makes a sizable leap in this week's Power Rankings. And you have to wonder what's in store for the ex-Oklahoma State wrestler. Will he segue into the UFC looking like the crasher of parties? If he does, would he fight training partner and former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez? Will he get an immediate shot against the Junior dos Santos/Frank Mir winner, particularly if Antonio Silva upsets Cain Velasquez? Or will he be a part of the last heavyweight fight under the Strikeforce banner? And if he is, will it be against Fedor Emelianenko?

On the other hand, is there a chance we finally get to see Barnett against Fedor, after all this time? We'll have to wait and see. After UFC 146, the heavyweight landscape will have some clarity. For right now, it's a fun week of speculation with one thing definitive: Daniel Cormier is a force to be reckoned with wherever he goes.

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