Brazilian badass Fabricio Werdum got it done on Saturday night, taking out champ Cain Velasquez with superior striking, cardio and one hell of a guillotine and, in the process, turning his interim belt into the real deal. Which is great, because now we have a champ who will likely be able to dodge the injury bug and defend his belt over and over again!
Of course, that just begs the question: Who should Werdum fight next? The list of names he’s beaten already includes Fedor Emelianenko, Mark Hunt, Travis Browne, “Big Nog”, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Roy Nelson, so you can definitely scratch them off the list. That leaves us with those who’ve beaten him in the past, plus maybe some other intriguing opponents. Here, then, are five potential match-ups for the new champ:
- Junior dos Santos – Werdum’s last loss via stoppage was to JDS, with the former champ dropping the hammer on him at UFC 90 back in 2008. Obviously, a lot has changed for both men since then, but with Velasquez out of the picture, you have to assume the door is open for Dos Santos to get another shot. Right?
- Alistair Overeem – Overeem is the last person to hand Werdum an “L” (it was via decision at a Strikeforce event), and though Overeem has had pretty mixed success since arriving in the UFC, he’s still someone who looks like a cartoon character of a heavyweight fighter, and that’s an easy sell.
- Andrei Arlovksi – Another former UFC heavyweight champ, Arlovski beat Werdum via decision at UFC 70, and his career resurgence and recent win makes for – at the very least – a compelling story if the Belarussian challenges for the belt.
- Todd Duffee – Assuming Duffee gets past Frank Mir at UFC Fight Night 71, he’ll be on a three-fight win streak in the UFC, which is great for a heavyweight. However, if he loses to Mir… forget it. He sucks.
- Stipe Miocic – He’s 7-2 since joing the UFC, and his last fight saw him batter Hunt mercilessly for almost five rounds. I say give Miocic a shot. He’s a warm body who’d be willing to engage – and sometimes that’s all you can ask for.