Who’s Next For Junior Dos Santos?

Junior Dos Santos has looked great in the UFC.  He holds huge wins over Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve, Mirko Cro Cop and now Gilbert Yvel.  In my opinion, he has more of a case for a title shot that Shane Carwin or Cain Velasquez.  There are a few problems that he faces.  One, he did not get the hype of Carwin or Velasquez.  Two, he seems to be on the outside looking in.  Cain Velasquez and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will square off at UFC 110 in February.  Shane Carwin and Frank Mir will fight in March for the interim title.  Those seem to be the UFC’s top 4 contenders.  It would appear that the Carwin/Mir winner will get Lesnar if he is cleared and the Velasquez/Nog winner will get the next shot.  However, Dos Santos threw a wrench in that plan. Who’s next for the Brazilian heavyweight…

  • The winner of Velasquez vs. Nogueira – On paper this sounds great and this can be the number one contender fight and there would be little debate.  However, Dos Santos is a good friend and training partner of Nogueira and he wouldn’t fight him.  If Velasquez beat Nogueira then the problem is solved and here is the next match-up.
  • Roy Nelson – I believe Nelson has the talent to compete with the best heavyweights, but I think this is too quick for Nelson coming of the Ultimate Fighter win.  Nelson is good and would create an interesting fight, but I think Dos Santos is more in the mix than Nelson.
  • Brock Lesnar – Obiviously the status of Lesnar’s health is unknown, but one possibility is that the UFC could throw Dos Santos in there with Lesnar.  Menawhile, the winner of the Mir/Carwin fight could fight the winner of the Velasquez/Nogueira fight in a interim title defense.  Which would create a six man tourney of sorts.  With Lesnar’s health still uncertain I wouldn’t expect this fight to go down…yet.
  • Heath Herring – He has been out since his loss to Brock Lesnar.  Hehas been pursuing other things like acting, however a Herring bout would be interesting.  I’d like to see it.  Also, I wouldn’t be shocked by iy.
  • Gabriel Gonzaga – I think this is very likely.  I like the Velasquez match up better, but I think Gonzaga is very possible.  There are two questions though.  One, How is Gonzaga’s health? Obviously, he pulled out of UFC 108, is he healthy and will he be ready to go sometime soon?  Second, did Dos Santos leap frog Gonzaga?  One could argue that Dos Santos deserves a better opponent.
  • Cheick Kongo – It would be a great match, but Kongo needs another win before this happens.  My money is on Kongo vs. Yvel next.
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