“In fact, PRIDE Light-Weight Grand Prix on May 20 will be full of top UFC fighters. It will be the best place for deciding who the best lightweight fighter in the world is. This is the first benefit that the ‘union’ brings about.”
Each grand prix comprises 16 fighters who fight in a tournament style until there is only one man left with his arm raised. The first round and quarterfinals are on one day, and then a few months later the remaining winners square off in the semifinals and final.
In 2006, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic won the heavyweight tournament, defeating Josh Barnett via tapout because of strikes. Earlier that same night, Cro Cop beat Wanderlei Silva via knockout.
Now that PRIDE FC has changed hands, the lightweight grand prix — according to the most recent statements made from UFC President Dana White and the Fertittas — will most likely be at 155 instead of the traditional PRIDE FC 161-pound limit.
On the PRIDE FC side, top fighters such as Hayato Sakurai, Takanori Gomi, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Marcus Aurelio, Gilbert Melendez, Joachim Hansen and Nick Diaz are already being discussed as participants.
For the UFC, it’s doubtful that champion Sean Sherk would throw his hat in the ring. That’s pure speculation, however, based on his injuries and first title defense against Hermes Franca slated for July 7 at UFC 72.
However, one would presume that if this is indeed accurate, all other 155-pounders in the UFC stable are fair game, including, BJ Penn, Joe Stevenson, Melvin Guillard, Roger Huerta, Spencer Fisher, Kenny Florian, Jens Pulver, Tyson Griffin, Frank Edgar, and all the other talented fighters in the loaded division.
(Note: Penn and Pulver are scheduled to fight one another on June 23 at the TUF 5 Finale, which might exclude one or both of them.)
While it’s not quite the “SuperBowl” of MMA that we’ve been promised, integrating UFC fighters into the 2007 PRIDE FC Lightweight Grand Prix would be an awesome idea.
And, a clear sign that even better things are to come. "
sweet. this is what i've been waiting for.