Cain Velasquez awaits any threat to his title not named Junior dos Santos.
Dos Santos is the only UFC fighter who has taken Velasquez more than one round since 2010, but he lost by TKO to the heavyweight champion on Saturday night in UFC 166.
Velasquez has now defeated the UFC No. 1 heavyweight contender two out of three times, including in back-to-back fights. He’s beaten the No. 4 contender Antonio Silva twice. Knowing that, here are the top three threats to Velasquez’s throne.
3. Travis Browne
Browne has plenty of momentum after earning Knockout of the Night honors in his last two fights, defeating Alistair Overeem and Gabriel Gonzalez in the first round. However, in his previous bout, he fell to Silva in Round 1—the same Silva who couldn’t survive Round 1 against Velasquez. A victory over the champ would be shocking for the No. 5 UFC heavyweight contender.
2. Fabrício Werdum
Werdum, the No. 3 UFC heavyweight contender, has won three straight fights, including bouts over the talented Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Roy Nelson. It’s nearly been five years since suffering a first-round knockout to Dos Santos, so he’s deserving of a shot at the title. But five career losses show he’s extremely beatable and anything other him notching a sixth loss would be a surprise against Velasquez.
1. Daniel Cormier
Cormier should be Velasquez’s next opponent.
He remains undefeated after 13 professional fights that include wins over UFC heavyweight contenders Silva, Roy Nelson, Frank Mir and Josh Barnett. Cormier was the No. 2 UFC heavyweight contender only behind dos Santos before the No. 1 fell to the champ on Saturday night.
Whether or not Cormier is actually talented enough to defeat—or even compete against—Velasquez, he still has the cleanest resume and is most deserving of being the next challenger to Velasquez’s supremacy.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.