Two-time Olympian Daniel Cormier is known as one of the best wrestlers in all of mixed martial arts.
He proved on Saturday night his striking isn’t too bad, either.
Cormier, an alternate in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, advanced to the tournament finals with a first-round knockout of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in Cincinnati.
Cormier will face Josh Barnett, who submitted Sergei Kharitonov in the other semifinal, early next year for the tournament title.
Cormier rocked Silva with a big right hand in the opening minute, and Silva looked wobbly after several ensuing shots. He was eventually finished by a left jab, left hook, right uppercut combo that knocked him out cold on his back.
“It was great, man,” Cormier said. “I fought one of the top five heavyweights in the world and knocked him out. Give me some respect now.”
Barnett won his fight with relative ease after tripping Kharitonov and falling into mount only a minute into the fight.
Barnett pounded on Kharitonov until he rolled over and gave up his back. Barnett continued punching before trying to lock in a choke. Kharitonov then rolled over again, and Barnett secured a side choke and forced the tap at 4:32 of the opening round.
Barnett landed 63 of 72 strikes on the ground in less than a full round.
“I think I’m going to take down an Olympian, that’s what I think,” Barnett said of his matchup with Cormier before praising his athleticism and abilities..
Also on the card, Luke Rockhold took the middleweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
Former light heavyweight champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal rebounded from the first loss of his career to knock out Roger Gracie in the first round after 13 months out of action.