Cain Velasquez's next opponent was supposed to be Alistair Overeem. All the Dutchman had to do was win at UFC 156 (and pass his post-fight drug test) and it was a done deal.
It was supposed to happen, and UFC president Dana White confirmed the scenario. The only one apparently not on board was Antonio Silva, who spoiled the plan by knocking out the heavily favored Overeem in the third round of their Superbowl weekend showdown.
The result effectively bars Overeem from landing a title shot and leaves Velasquez without an immediate title challenger.
Ariel Helwani recently spoke with the UFC heavyweight champion about his future, including when his next title defense will come, and whom it will come against.
Junior Dos Santos was a name that emerged shortly after Overeem was defeated, but Velasquez is quick to state his opinion that the Brazilian should have to earn the rematch, as he himself had to after the first bout between the rivals.
"I think he needs to win one more fight, just like I did," notes Velasquez. "You know, we'll see what happens."
Though that hardly closes the books on Dos Santos vs. Velasquez III, there is an alternative route the UFC could look at when mapping out the future of the heavyweight division. That route would entail a match between Velasquez and former Strikeforce heavyweight kingpin Daniel Cormier.
The only problem? The two are not willing to fight one another.
The pact between the two men has been discussed in the past, and Velasquez confirms that it still holds strong, stating "I would not fight him. Definitely not. You know, he's my coach, teammate, friend, so that to me is a no."
That means anyone out there hoping for a Tito Ortiz-Chuck Liddell or Jon Jones-Rashad Evans type falling out might want to hold their breath.
Nor should there be any breath-holding on the part of anyone waiting for Velasquez's next fight. He reveals that he's "thinking the summer or so" for his next title defense but is also "OK with waiting" while the UFC establishes a legitimate challenger for him.
Who that contender will be is something that may have to be determined inside the Octagon in the coming months.