If JDS loses, he doesn’t fall as hard as Carwin.
First, he was already in line for a title shot against Cain Velazquez, but was forced to wait when it was revealed that the newly minted champ had messed his shoulder up something bad in the title fight with Brock Lesnar at UFC 121.
Instead of waiting around JDS agreed to fight the wounded animal that was Brock Lesnar, which was preceded by coaching duties at TUF 13. But Brock got punched in the gut by Diverticulitis for a second time…and here we are.
Second, JDS has never lost inside the Octagon. So if he happens to get punched in the face by Carwin and doesn’t pull through, a loss will sting but won’t drop him out of the title picture irrevocably.
So what would be next for dos Santos?
One option would be for JDS to take some extended time off and really reinvent himself: charge back up, and in the process get even better. With reprieve, he could wait for and welcome back Brock Lesnar in 2012. Probably too long of a weight, but hey who likes to have unresolved business.
While a fight with Lesnar might be a bit pie in the sky at this point, a more realistic option might be Brendan Schaub. If Schaub beats Big Nog at UFC 134, not only will he be looking for a big step up in competition, but he will have beaten the mentor of JDS, so what better fight to make then one that would involve the plot line of revenge.
Another option would be the same option proposed to Carwin if he lost, and that would be a fight with the Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry winner. In what would likely be an exciting stand up battle, JDS could use this battle to get right back into the mix.
Another name, less well known to the common MMA fan, is Mike Russow. He is coming off a win over Jon Madsen and is 3-0 in the UFC. Probably a better option for Carwin, fighters like Russow, Travis Brown and Matt Mitrione might be considered a step down in competition from a divisional stand point for JDS, based on where he is at overall.