Is There a No. 1 Contender for Cain Velasquez in the Heavyweight Division?

Kevin HessAnalyst IFebruary 4, 2013

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  UFC Fighter Cain Velasquez speaks at the UFC on Fox: Velasquez v Dos Santos - Press Conference at W Hollywood on September 20, 2011 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

The recent upset loss of Alistair Overeem at the hands of Antonio Silva will certainly cause ripple effects in the UFC's heavyweight division. Overeem was supposed to be the next No. 1 contender but now the UFC will be scrambling to find a legitimate contender.

Antonio Silva is coming off of a huge victory over Overeem but lost to Velasquez in a one-sided mauling that left Silva lying in a bloody mess, resulting in a first-round stoppage win for Velasquez.

The main problem is that there is a lack of contenders that have momentum at the moment.

Big name contenders Junior dos Santos and Frank Mir are coming off of championship losses. I like variety so I certainly do not want to see Velasquez fight dos Santos for a third time in four fights for both men.

Fabricio Werdum is set to fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at the conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, which isn't scheduled until June of this year, forcing a healthy Cain Velasquez to sit for almost an entire year without an opponent. Another problem with this scenario is that Nogueira has looked very solid recently and will likely defeat Werdum for a second time when they square off.

The other fighter that doesn't have momentum and would be justified as a title shot would be Daniel Cormier, who is scheduled to fight Frank Mir. Should Cormier defeat Mir, he seems set on not taking a fight with his American Kickboxing Academy teammate.

There can be many eliminator scenarios in this equation, but none of those will get Velasquez an opponent anytime soon. If you're talking about waiting for multiple matches to take place, then Velasquez sits and doesn't fight, which is a loss for fans and the UFC alike.  

This leaves an interesting option if the UFC is willing to step up and give a title shot to a fresh contender.

In my opinion, that man is Stefan Struve.

Struve lacks the signature win, but he has been looking very sharp in his last few outings. Struve is on a four-fight win streak and poses some immediate problems for Velasquez, not just in the obvious height/reach advantage but in his ability to win off of his back with a submission.

There isn't any reason as to why Cain Velasquez should sit out and remain idle while he waits for the heavyweights to separate themselves. Velasquez will be turning 31 years of age this summer, and he is in the prime of his career now.

He shouldn't waste his best years sitting around and rotting away.