Just like that, the UFC’s heavyweight division was injected with a new life spark.
Over the weekend, Fabricio Werdum laid claim to being the “baddest man on the planet” when he submitted Cain Velasquez and became the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion at UFC 188.
For a division that has been witness to constant turnaround and a lot of time on the sidelines due to injury, it might not be a better time to be one of the big boys than now.
Werdum has won six in a row and will be a tough task for anybody to derail. But, there are challengers laying in the weeds ready to pounce like a tiger.
The direction that the UFC takes from here with the Top-10 will be a win-win for not only the promotion but the fans.
Here’s one man’s idea of what might happen going forward:
Fabricio Werdum vs. Junior dos Santos
The new king of the mountain will likely want some time off to recoup, recover and enjoy, but at 37 years of age, time is not really on the side of the Brazilian.
A future rematch with Velasquez is one option, but there is another Brazilian looking to regain the title he previously wore first.
Junior dos Santos vs. Werdum would be a major sell in Brazil and could even provide the first push towards a stadium show for the UFC. “Cigano” is a worthy challenger, as he’s only been bested by Velasquez in recent memory.
Plus, there is the easy selling card that dos Santos was the one who ended Werdum’s first run in the UFC when he bested him.
Cain Velasquez vs. Ben Rothwell
After almost two full years on the sidelines, it was a rude welcome home for Velasquez in Mexico. He seemed gassed for the first time in his career, and Werdum rocked him on a number of exchanges.
An immediate rematch could be a very hard sell, as the division has plenty of fighters on the way up.
How about Velasquez takes on Ben Rothwell? Much like Werdum-dos Santos, there is history, as Velasquez bested him during a meeting a few years ago. Plus, Rothwell sparked interest by making mention of possible PED-use by the former two-time champion.
Stipe Miocic vs. Andrei Arlovski
It’s hard to say Stipe Miocic and Andrei Arlovski don’t deserve a shot at the belt, but it might just be a situation of bad timing for the two red-hot heavyweights.
So, why not pair them up, maybe as the co-main event to Werdum-dos Santos? That would also give you an option to replace one of the other two if injury happens.
Miocic looked great in a loss to dos Santos and rebounded with a nice finish of Mark Hunt. Arlovski has been a rejuvenated fighter, as the former UFC champion is on a five-fight win streak.
The rest of the division
Josh Barnett is set to face Roy Nelson already, and Frank Mir is taking on Todd Duffee. Travis Browne and Hunt are coming off losses, so maybe there is an easy pairing right there. A convincing win by Antonio Silva over Soa Palelei this August would put “Bigfoot” back looking at a Top-10 opponent, and you still have many others coming up in the rankings.