In a most impressive performance, Velasquez may have proven one thing: any fighter can be beaten on any night. Lesnar had destroyed the one person who defeated him, Frank Mir, in a rematch and then showed he could survive adversity by coming back to defeat Carwin. All of this after nearly losing his life to a rare intestinal disorder that required surgery and nine months of recovery. But now it will be Cain Velasquez with the target on his back.
The first challenger to the UFC champ Velasquez is reportedly going to be Junior dos Santos. Expect Lesnar to get one fight (possibly a third fight against Mir) and the winners to face off.
Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem has mostly been competing in K-1 the past year. His lone MMA fight was a dominating TKO victory over Minnesota heavyweight Brett Rogers in May. Overeem will be competing in the K-1 World Grand Prix on December 11, so expect an early 2011 return to MMA. That is the same timetable for Werdum and Emelianenko.
Strikeforce also contracts Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in their strong heavyweight stable. Silva is expected to face Valentijn Overeem, the older brother of Alistair, at the December 4 Strikeforce event in St. Louis.
In a wide-open division, here are my unofficial rankings of the top dozen heavyweights in the world:
- Cain Velasquez (9-0)
- Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1)
- Fedor Emelianenko (31-2)
- Brock Lesnar (5-2)
- Junior dos Santos (12-1)
- Alistair Overeem (33-11)
- Shane Carwin (12-1)
- Frank Mir (14-5)
- Antonio Rodrigo Noguerira (32-6-1)
- Antonio Silva (14-2)
- Josh Barnett (29-5)
- Brett Rogers (11-2)
Fighters in blue are contracted by UFC.