Former UFC heavyweight titlist Cain Velasquez is slated to face off against another former champ in the guise of Frank Mir at UFC 146. However, if Velasquez defeats the latter come fight night, then he does deserve to be next in line for a title shot.
In October of 2010, Velasquez brutally wrestled the heavyweight championship belt from Brock Lesnar’s grasp—nevertheless, a torn rotator cuff sustained in the bout prevented him from immediately defending the belt and thus kept him on the sidelines for almost a year.
By the time he was ready to come back to the fold, Velasquez had to contend not only with an injury that could reoccur at any time, but also with cage rust, the latter of which I believe was a catalyst in Junior dos Santos decimating him in the opening stanza of their UFC on FOX 1 main-event clash.
Velasquez is currently ranked No. 3 in the MMA heavyweight class, while Mir is No. 4. If Mir is victorious, it should warrant his installment as the No. 1 contender to the UFC heavyweight crown.
Furthermore, with the status quo of the division, there isn’t any one heavyweight who is deserved of a tilt at the title right now.
No. 5-ranked Shane Carwin, whose last two defeats came at the hands of Lesnar and Santos, is out of action until mid-2012.
Former Strikeforce resident Fabricio Werdum, who recently defeated Roy Nelson in his second stint for the Zuffa-based organization, would make a great candidate. However, he hasn’t done enough yet to merit a shot at UFC gold—two more victories and then he’s back in the mix.
The likes of Antonio "Minotauro" Nogueira and Antonio "Big Foot" Silva don’t even justify a mention.
At present, Velasquez (9-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) is the only fighter on the UFC roster who deserves a title shot if he upends Mir on May 26 at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nev.
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