HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: UFC Fighter Junior dos Santos stands for the cameras during the UFC on Fox: Velasquez v Dos Santos - Press Conference at W Hollywood on September 20, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
With so many fights coming up spread across eight different weight classes, it's easy to lose track of what's happening in every division. Here, we take a look at where a particular division stands right now, and where it's headed.
As is always the case, there's a lot of chaos in the Heavyweight division. Something about the big guys in this division makes it a very unstable place, with a historic rotating door at the top. And today, that's definitely the case. Not long ago, the UFC Heavyweight division was all about the big 4 - Leesnar, Carwin, dos Santos, Velasquez. Now, one of those is retired, one is nearly retired, and we have veterans like Mir, Werdum, and maybe even Barnett stepping in. It's an odd group making up the top of this division at the moment, with young guns like Travis Browne jockeying for position with veterans like Mark Hunt. And all the time, you have new talent like Lavar Johnson making a claim for their own spot.
This is an exciting fight, but it's impossible to look at it and not think about what might have been. Obviously, this is a make-up fight, as the planned dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem mega-fight was cancelled due to Overeem's drug testing issues. And while some people may be let down by Mir stepping in, I find this a very intriguing match-up. Mir presents a unique challenge to the champion, and if he can get the fight to the ground, his submission game could come through. He's also a great story as he has spent years fighting back after his near career-ending motorcycle accident. Not everyone is a fan of Mir, but I love what he's done in the Octagon and am thrilled to see him get his shot at the title.
More in the full article.
Key Match Ups:
After Mir vs. JDS, the title picture becomes a bit hazy. I'd say there are three possible fights that could determine a next #1 contender, depending how they play out, with Cain and Werdum looking like the best possibilities. Of course, both of those men have also been brutally KO'd by dos Santos, so if he retains the belt over Mir, those are less appealing options:
- #7 Josh Barnett vs. #8 Daniel Cormier (Strikeforce HW GP Final, May 19)
- #3 Cain Velasquez vs. #10 Antonio Silva (UFC 146, May 26)
- #5 Fabricio Werdum vs. #14 Mike Russow (UFC 147, June 23)
Other Notable Fights:
These fights won't necessarily create the next title challenger, but they are important fights that will set up a big fight for the winner next time out.
- #15 Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman (UFC 146, May 26)
- #12 Mark Hunt vs. #21 Stefan Struve (UFC 146, May 26)
- Shane del Rosario vs. Stipe Miocic (UFC 146, May 26)
- #9 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. #16 Cheick Kongo (UFC 149, July 21)
- #13 Travis Browne vs. #17 Ben Rothwell (UFC on Fox 4, August 4)
Waiting in the Wings:
Here are the division's most notable fighters that are currently unscheduled. The two big ones here are Reem and Carwin, and both of them have massive question marks above their heads. It's entirely possible we never see either one in the UFC again. As for the rest - Johnson vs. Schaub anyone?
All the Rest:
Normally I list all other Heavyweight fights currently scheduled here, but literally, that's all of them. There's not a single low-level HW fight currently signed, which speaks volumes about the lack of depth in the division right now and the need to be building up new names.
Rankings based on the USA Today / SB Nation consensus rankings, dated April 27, 2012.
Who will be the next Heavyweight challenger after dos Santos vs. Mir?
Cain Velasquez (911 votes)
Fabricio Werdum (353 votes)
Mark Hunt! (513 votes)
Josh Barnett (573 votes)
Daniel Cormier (331 votes)
Other (125 votes)
2806 total votes