With Cain Velasquez on the shelf, UFC wants Fabricio Werdum to face Travis Browne or Josh Barnett

Esther Lin for MMAFighting

With his title shot against UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez on hold, the UFC wants No. 2 ranked Fabricio Werdum to face the winner of UFC 168's fight between Travis Browne and Josh Barnett

Fabricio Werdum has some thinking to do.

In early October, Werdum, the No. 2 ranked heavyweight in the UFC revealed that he had been informed that he would be the next fighter to compete for the UFC Heavyweight title. When Cain Velasquez successfully defended that title with TKO win over former champion Junior dos Santos, it looked as if Werdum had his opponent.

If history tells us anything about the UFC's matchmaking plans, it's don't ever count on things being that easy.

On Wednesday Velasquez tweeted the following:

According to UFC Tonight, the surgery and subsequent rehab will keep Velasquez on the shelf until late 2014.

That report also indicated that UFC president Dana White would like Werdum to not sit and wait for Velasquez to return to action.

In fact, according to Ariel Helwani, White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta have requested that Werdum fight the winner of the upcoming bout between Travis Browne and Josh Barnett.

Browne (15-1-1) is ranked No. 5 in the heavyweight division while Barnett (33-6) comes in at No. 6. The two will fight on the pay per view portion of UFC 168. That fight card will take place on December 28.

Werdum (17-5-1) is unbeaten since returning to the UFC in 2012, earning wins over Roy Nelson, Mike Russow and most recently Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The win over Nogueira came in June after coaching opposite the veteran fighter in season two of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.

According to Helwani, Werdum has not yet responded to the request made be White and Fertitta.

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