After a wild UFC 160 pay-per-view from Las Vegas, the focus on Cain Velasquez, the UFC Heavyweight Championship and the entire title picture moving forward is the talk of the MMA world.
Not only did Velasquez successfully retain his title, Junior Dos Santos dominated Saturday and proved to everyone that he is the unquestioned No. 1 contender.
This is how the entire heavyweight title scene shakes out after an amazing night of UFC.
The Champion: Cain Velasquez
After beating challenger Antonio Silva via a first-round knockout on Saturday, it is clear that Cain Velasquez is the cream of the heavyweight crop in the UFC.
While a tough loss to Dos Santos in 2011 temporarily derailed the star’s assault on the division, huge victories over Brock Lesnar, Silva (twice), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and a redemption win against Dos Santos has Velasquez sitting as the king of the mountain.
The only loss on Velasquez’s record is to Dos Santos, and after the Brazilian knocked out Mark Hunt in the co-main event Saturday, Dana White made it clear that the third part of this trilogy was already in the works (h/t USA Today).
The No. 1 Contender: Junior Dos Santos
The new No. 1 contender to the UFC Heavyweight Championship is the former champion Junior Dos Santos, and after knocking out Hunt in his big chance to find glory, it’s clear that the battle between Dos Santos and Velasquez is going to be an absolute war.
Velasquez is the better wrestler—dominated the last meeting on the ground and held on for a decision victory—but as seen in the duo’s first meeting, Dos Santos’ striking is better than anyone in the heavyweight division.
Now that the third bout is imminent (barring an injuries during training), the hype around what could be the most explosive main event in the last five years of UFC has already started to build.
This is going to be a megafight for MMA.
The Rest of the Heavyweights
While the next championship fight has been set, the heavyweight division is arguably the deepest in the sport right now with more than a few worthy fighters looking for a shot at being the No. 1 contender.
Former Strikeforce champion Daniel Cormier’s jump to UFC has been a success thus far, and it’s about time the undefeated champion—who never lost his Strikeforce belt—gets a chance at the gold from his new employer.
Add in the talents of fighters like Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem and Roy Nelson, and the hunt for fighters to become the next No. 1 contender is on.
White and the UFC officials in charge of match making have the unique opportunity to make some very intriguing heavyweight fights over the next few months.