Opinion: Who Gets Next Crack at Heavyweight Title?
By Michael Hatamoto
The UFC heavyweight division is relatively thin these days, so it might take some creative marketing on the UFC’s part to make exciting future matchups.
I believe the winner of Josh Barnett-Travis Browne could be next in line to get a shot at the winner of Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos III. I don’t think Barnett or Browne would stand a chance at the winner of Velasquez-Dos Santos – and there isn’t much else behind them.
The current top 10 heavyweights are all signed with the UFC: Velasquez, Dos Santos, Cormier, Antonio Silva, Barnett, Browne, Frank Mir, Alistair Overeem, and Mark Hunt.
Both Cormier and Roy Nelson could find themselves climbing the ladder, but MMA fans cannot forget about Werdum. However, I think the Brazilian BJJ fighter is foolish for trying to sit out and expect the UFC to give him a title shot. Furthermore, I believe Velasquez could outstrike him and avoid the takedown, and Dos Santos-Werdum II would likely be a repeat of the first thumping Dos Santos gave Werdum.
There was a certain level of unconfirmed enthusiasm that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones would easily dispatch Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira, and then move to heavyweight. Gustafsson proved to be a much tougher challenge, and Jones will face Glover Teixeira and a possible rematch with Gustafsson might be possible in 2014.
I think the UFC is in a tough spot regardless of what they decide to do, because Velasquez and Dos Santos are simply better than everyone else. Undefeated heavyweight Cormier, Velasquez’s teammate, should drop to light heavyweight instead of possibly jamming up what is already a weak division.