Five UFC heavyweight fights to make for early 2013

Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

The heavyweight division has seen a lot of action lately, so let's take a look at where the UFC might go from here in terms of booking.

The heavyweight division in MMA has always been a bit of a paradox - while it's probably the most popular division in terms of fan interest, it's almost always one of shallowest in terms of actual talent. Things have been starting to look up a bit lately though. A few prospects have been working their way up in the UFC, and there are a lot of good potential matchups out there. It's pretty much set in stone that UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos will be defending his title against Cain Velasquez at UFC 155 in December, but what about everyone else? I'm going to lay out five matchups that the UFC could book in early 2013 that would work out well for the organization.

1. Fabricio Werdum vs. Daniel Cormier - Yes, Cormier is still in Strikeforce for the moment. This bout isn't likely to go down on November 3rd, but it's a viable matchup for early next year in the UFC if Cormier is taken off that Strikeforce card. Cormier's coach wants it. Werdum has said he'd accept it if he coach was cool with it. It's the perfect high-level matchup to see if Cormier is an immediate title challenger, and it's an awesome style clash as well. Of all the matchups they could put together, this one is the most appealing to me.

2. Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva - Yes, they were both in Strikeforce. Yes, Overeem would probably smash Bigfoot. But Silva is coming off a huge main-event win over Travis Browne last weekend and his stock is high right now. Plus you can be relatively sure that the winner of this bout would be worthy of taking on the champ in his next bout, as long as the dominoes don't drop towards Velasquez vs. Silva 2.

3. Frank Mir vs. Stefan Struve - The severity of Mir's injury remains to be seen, but I really like this matchup. Struve just picked up a huge win over a top prospect (by TKO no less), and Mir is crafty on the feet and on the ground. This fight would be fun to analyze - could Struve knock Mir out? Would Mir hold a big advantage on the ground? Mir's not in the title picture and was willing to take on a guy trying to break into the top tier of the division when he agreed to face Cormier. So why not Struve?

4. Travis Browne vs. Stipe Miocic - Browne's out for a while, but Miocic might like some time off as well to get back to the drawing board after his first loss. While the UFC generally likes to avoid matching up major prospects against each other, this is the type of bout they might make an exception for. Both are athletic, hit hard, and can handle themselves everywhere. It's a perfect co-main event for a Fuel or FX card in my eyes.

5. Mark Hunt vs. the winner of Roy Nelson vs. Shane Carwin - Why? Because it's Mark Hunt, and I want to see him clobber one of these two guys. Heck, let him fight both of them at the same time. The Super Samoan can do anything he damn well pleases.

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