Fabricio Werdum shook the UFC heavyweight division up when he submitted Cain Velasquez last Saturday at UFC 188. The Brazilian entered the Octagon as the underdog and left as the new commander of the 205+ lbs. division. The freshly minted champion now needs a fresh title challenger to prove his worth as the divisional ruler.
The three men whose names have been circulating throughout the MMA community since Werdum's triumph are Junior dos Santos, Stipe Miocic, and Andrei Arlovski. Dos Santos and Arlovski are both former UFC heavyweight champions, but only one man managed to defend the title. 'The Pitbull' held onto the HW strap for two fights before being usurped by long-time rival Tim Sylvia at UFC 59 in 2006, while 'Cigano' lost the crown in his first title defense against Cain Velasquez at UFC 155. Stipe Miocic has emerged as a top-ranked contender since thrashing Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 65, but only one will challenge Werdum for the gold in his first title defense.
In a recent Q&A on Periscope, UFC president Dana White gave his thoughts on the current heavyweight landscape and confirmed that it will be either Stipe Miocic or Andrei Arlovski challenging for the belt:
"We haven't made a decision on that yet," Dana said. "We're still working on the heavyweight title fight. I know there are reports out there that Arlovski has it, but that's not true. Dos Santos should get that fight, but he's hurt - so he can't. It's either gonna be Stipe or Arlovski."
After his pulsating five round battle with Miocic, dos Santos underwent surgery for a collateral ligament injury in his right knee, and it's unknown as to when the former champ will return to the Octagon. Meanwhile, Arlovski is currently riding an impressive five-fight win streak, with wins over Brendan Schaub, Antonio Silva, and Travis Browne, while Miocic is fresh off a dominant win over 'The Super Samoan', Mark Hunt.