"I don't understand it. I'm a fighter – I just want a fight."
Devin Cole (20-9-1 MMA, 2-1 SF) is frustrated. The former Strikeforce heavyweight on Friday told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
) a contract and scheduling fluke, for lack of a better word, has him stuck in "no man's land" right now.
But if it's at all possible, he'd love to get one more crack in the Strikeforce cage – against Josh Barnett (31-6 MMA, 2-1 SF).
Cole fought in December at "Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal" and picked up a unanimous-decision win over Gabriel Salinas-Jones for his second straight victory in the promotion. But he said because the fight was the last on his deal, and because most of the rest of the Strikeforce heavyweights had already been moved to the UFC, he essentially was left without a home.
Cole even said that had he pulled out of the fight with Salinas-Jones two days beforehand, it would have left him with one fight on his Strikeforce deal – and the UFC would likely have brought him over for a fight there.
"I don't know (why I'm not in the UFC)," Cole said. "But because everyone got transferred over, they had so many heavyweights and they've gotta weed through them. They (said), 'We have so many heavyweights right now … because you don't have a fight on your Strikeforce contract to honor, you're SOL.'"
Cole said the UFC encouraged him to pick up a couple of wins outside the promotion while that weeding-out process took place. And he said his lack of activity since December hasn't been for lack of trying.
"It seems like everyone's trying to get to the UFC," Cole said. "They want to get wins, but they don't want to fight a tough guy. I was trying to fight Tim Sylvia. I was trying to fight Pedro Rizzo in Brazil before he signed to fight Fedor (Emelianenko on June 21). I haven't fought in six months – I just want to fight. I'll pretty much fight for free – just get me a fight."
With Barnett and Daniel Cormier still on the hook for one last Strikeforce fight each to close out the division in the promotion, Cole thinks he'd be a great candidate to fight Barnett once his broken hand is healed. Barnett lost to Cormier this past month in the finals of the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament.
"I would love that fight," Cole said. "I think I could go out there and give Josh a real good fight. I think I could beat him. I was the first guy to take Cormier to a decision. He gook me down five times, but I stood up three times. I'm the only guy to get away from him, pretty much. I 'm a real good candidate, and I think I could go in there and bang."
But while he said matchmaker Sean Shelby knows his interest, he isn't sure Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker knows it's a fight he wants. And he isn't sure how long Barnett will be sidelined. So he is remaining patient and just hoping something comes along.
"I'm a free agent and coming off two wins," he said. "I got kind of caught in no man's land. But everything happens for a reason. I just keep training hard, and I'm looking for my next fight."