Its only been five days since Brock Lesnar's thrilling comeback win over Shane Carwin at UFC 116 to retain the UFC Heavyweight title. But as much as the debate lingers on about whether Josh Rosenthal should've stopped the fight in the first round? Did the beating Lesnar took expose him as still somewhat green and one dimensional? Conversely, was it a demonstration of his heart, determination, and will to win? With all those talking points still in the air, the conversation is already moving toward discussing Lesnar's chances against his next opponent - Cain Velasquez.
On a couple different online forums the discussion is already raging in intricate detail about who matches up better with who, and who has the better amateur credentials. Cain lacks Carwin's power, but has 5X the gas tank. Cain is a less accomplished amateur wrestler, but competed against bigger wrestlers his entire collegiate career and fared quite well against stiff competition (1-1 against Cole Konrad). Lesnar doesn't have Cain's well-roundedness, but after the Carwin fight we know how deep Lesnar can go without being finished. By the same token, Cain hasn't really been tested in any of his fights yet. If Lesnar puts Cain in a similar position to what Carwin put Lesnar in, can Cain weather the storm and comeback? How does Lesnar fare next time if he's put on his back against someone who's probably as skilled a top position grappler as he is, if not a little better?
The broader context of Fedor's first loss in a decade made the Carwin-Lesnar bout not just a battle for the UFC Heavyweight title, but a contest that would land the victor the title of "#1 ranked heavyweight fighter in the world". A designation that has been under lock and key for the past seven years. With that designation now belonging to a Zuffa contracted fighter, the up-coming Lesnar-Velasquez match up will only build on the talking point that for the first time in a decade, the top heavyweight MMArtists reside in the UFC. The winner of Lesnar-Velasquez will likely end up entrenched in the top spot for the foreseeable future, unless one or the other is knocked off. Lesnar - after only six fights - already has that aura of invincibility - especially after the comeback win over Carwin. Velasquez too, on a smaller scale, after his latest decisive KO of future Hall of Famer Antonio Noguiera.
This conversation is going to continue for the next few months leading up to the likely November date when these two meet in the next installment of the "Biggest heavyweight fight in UFC History". We're truly seeing a renaissance of the UFC heavyweight division right now, and its on track to keep getting better, before it gets worse. Lesnar, Cain, and Dos Santos are all in the prime of their athletic careers, and still have yet to peak as Mixed Martial Artists. Thats a scary thought when you consider how far they've all come already. Even Shane Carwin, who is 35 yrs old, is still relatively young in his MMA career.
Pinch yourselves sports fans, its really happening. Lesnar-Velasquez may indeed be that generational heavyweight tilt that our generation (the generation that wasn't around for the Ali-Foreman era in boxing) has yet to experience.