Nine years ago, Andrei Arlovski became the interim UFC heavyweight champion by defeating Tim Sylvia in just 47 seconds. In his next fight, he defended the interim title by knocking out Justin Eilers in just over four minutes.
Then he was promoted to undisputed champion when Frank Mir was unable to defend the title. Arlovski won his first undisputed title defense with a knockout in just 15 seconds.
Arlovski would only have five more fights in the UFC. He lost his title to Sylvia, lost a rematch to Sylvia and then won three fights. The third of those was the final fight on his UFC contract, and following that, he left the UFC.
During his time outside the UFC, Arlovski went 8-5 (1 NC), including the only recorded knockout of Roy Nelson in history. He fought for Strikeforce, Affliction, EliteXC, WSOF, ProElite and ONE Fighting Championship. He went everywhere.
During that time outside the UFC, Arlovski faced and knocked out Ben Rothwell then he faced and knocked out Roy Nelson. Then he hit a wall and dropped four straight.
The first two came against Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers, both by knockout. It was around this time that people were beginning to question Arlovski's chin and his future in the sport. The knockouts from both of them took less than four minutes combined.
He followed that up with a unanimous decision loss (29-28 all scorecards) to Antonio Silva, and another knockout loss, this one to Sergei Kharitonov in around three minutes.
It was after that loss that Arlovski started to put it all back together. He beat Ray Lopez and Travis Fulton with knockouts in the third round.
Following that, he took down Devin Cole and Mike Hayes before losing a unanimous decision to Anthony Johnson. Then in his last two fights before getting the call from the UFC, he beat Mike Kyle and knocked out Andreas Kraniotakes.
Now he's ready to come back to the UFC, and he'll be facing Brendan Schaub on Saturday. Schaub is the favorite, and should he beat Arlovski, will Arlovski get a second shot?
His opponent, Schaub, is ranked No. 14 in the division and has won two straight fights. He is a solid competitor in the heavyweight division and has taken down some legends in the sport, even if his chin is suspect as of late.
Schaub suffered two straight knockout losses from 2011 into 2012, losing to Minotauro Nogueira in just three minutes in August of 2011, then losing to Ben Rothwell in just over one minute in April 2012.
Since then, Schaub has won two straight, with a unanimous decision over Lavar Johnson and a technical submission over Matt Mitrione in the first round.
Arlovski has won his last two fights and four of his last five. He is one of only five heavyweight champions to defend the UFC title at least twice. He has fought solid competition outside of the Octagon. He was signed specifically for this fight and is not a late-injury replacement.
He will undoubtedly get a second fight in the UFC.
Arlovski has earned his place back in the UFC. The only way that he wouldn't get a second fight is if he gets knocked out in under 30 seconds—and misses weight.
Even if he does lose to Schaub, he will get a second shot, probably on an undercard against a low-level heavyweight.
Or maybe the UFC will want to give Roy Nelson a chance to knock out the only person who knocked him out. That'd be a fun fight, and a great test to see where Arlovski's chin is at.
The division has only 37 fighters and needs some new contenders in the mix. Arlovski could provide a new contender in today's heavyweight division.