UFC 134: Dana White pegs winner of Schaub vs Nogueira as 'in the mix' for heavyweight title hunt

Brendan Schaub thinks that beating Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 134: "Rio" from the HSBC Arena on Aug. 27 in Brazil would make him the heavyweight division's number one contender.

He apparently is not alone.

UFC President Dana White today (June 16, 2011) told media members at the UFC 134 pre-fight press conference the winner of Schaub vs. Nogueira is "in the mix" for the heavyweight title hunt -- which could be Dana-speak for "I still don't know what the hell I'm going to do with Frank Mir."

Despite some big names, the UFC heavyweight division is surprisingly anemic, which means that either "The Hybrid" or "Minotauro" might get first dibs on the strap by default.

Who else is qualified?

Brock Lesnar is recovering from major surgery to (hopefully) repair his chronic diverticulitis. While he's projected to return in January 2012, he hasn't even started working out, so there's no telling what his recovery phase will be or if he's able to resume his MMA career.

Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin, two fighters recently knocking on the championship door, have both lost two straight. Matt Mitrione only has four professional fights and Pat Barry has yet two win two consecutive bouts in his UFC career.

Cheick Kongo is 1-2-1 in his last couple of appearances and those two losses were to Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez. Travis Browne and Dave Herman have great records, but could have a long way to go before they're considered championship material.

And will the Strikeforce heavyweights start to trickle in as the grand prix concludes?

I guess the X-factor here, at least for the time being, is Mir. The UFC could keep him on the sidelines in hopes of extracting one last money match out of him and Brock Lesnar, or the former champ could face the winner of Schaub vs. Nogueira to determine the number one contender.

Unless the Maniacs have a better idea? That's what the comments section is for, so go ahead and map out the rest of 2011 in the UFC heavyweight division below.

Sound off!

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