The UFC Heavyweight division has been hisotrically weak. There was a time when the division was so weak, Randy Couture came out of retirment and beat Tim Sylvia to capture the heavyweight title. I do not believe the division is weak any longer. However, the division has been on hold recently since UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez has recovered from an injury. Also, injuries to former champion Brock Lesnar and former interim champions Shane Carwin and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira have put a log jam at the top of the division. That is all about to clear up. On November 12, on Fox, Cain Velasquez will defend his title against the clear number 2 contender, Junior Dos Santos.
Dos Santos is not only the number one contender in the UFC, he is a consensus choice for the number 2 heavyweight in the world. It is rare in combat sports for the number one and number 2 guy in the world to actually fight.
Next in line: After Junior Dos Santos gets a crack at the title, the next title shot will go to the winner of the fight between former UFC champion Brock Lesnar an former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem. Those two are set to square off on December 30th.
After, the Overeem vs. Lesnar fight the waters get a little more cloudy. Shane Carwin is out until mid-2012 while recovering from back surgery. That places a re-newed importance on the UFC 140 clash between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir. I do not believe that the winner of that fight becomes a contender, but I believe that they will be a part of a number one contender fight. Perhaps they would fight the winner of Matt Mitrione vs. Cheick Kongo.
I also believe that when we talk about the state of the UFC heavyweigh division we have to talk about the Strikeforce heavyweights. It still seems apparent that they will move to the UFC some time in 2012. The winner of the grand prix final between Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett could earn a title shot in the UFC.
Also, if you through in talented fighters like Fabricio Wedum and Antonio Silva then you have a host of intriguing match ups.
Upcoming Heavyweight Fights:
Matt Mitrione vs. Cheick Kongo – UFC 137 – October 29
Roy Nelson vs. Mirko Cro Cop – UFC 137 – October 29
Rob Broughton vs. Phil DeFries – UFC 138 – November 5
Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos – UFC on Fox – November 12
Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – UFC 140 – December 10
Alistair Overeem vs. Brock Lesnar – UFC 141 – December 30