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After defeating Junior dos Santos to avenge his only career defeat and reclaim the UFC heavyweight title, we discuss what's next for newly crowned champ Cain Velasquez.
Newly crowned Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez joined Randy Couture as the only two-time heavyweight titleholder in UFC history with his domination of Junior dos Santos in the main event of UFC 155 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, last night (Dec. 29, 2012).
Many expected the rematch to last longer than the first meeting and be a more competitive fight. Both those things were true, but the end result of the fight was different as Velasquez redeemed his only career defeat, while simultaneously taking back the title he lost to dos Santos in Nov. 2011 at UFC on FOX 1.
Velasquez performed miraculously on Saturday night, connecting with some expected strikes on the feet and utterly dominating dos Santos on the ground unlike anything seen in the past.
Prior to the first meeting between Velasquez and dos Santos nearly 14-months ago, many said it could be the beginning of a long and memorable rivalry between the two elite competitors. And after manhandling dos Santos and tying the series at one win apiece, a trilogy bout is definitely on the horizon.
That fight should not take place anytime soon, though, as there are several other fighters in the heavyweight division worthy of an opportunity of the fight. Moreover, dos Santos needs to get a few wins under his belt in order to generate maximum interest in a third fight.
While there in no clear-cut No. 1 contender in the heavyweight division at this moment, there is one fight for Velasquez going forward that stands out above all the rest -- a meeting with former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.
Velasquez vs. Overeem doesn't hold the same type of tension as a dos Santos vs. Overeem fight because of the backstory, but that takes little away from the appeal of the fight as, on paper at least, Velasquez vs. Overeem is an extremely dynamic match up.
The match up is fascinating in terms of styles. Velasquez is arguably the best grappler in the heavyweight division and Overeem's credentials as a K-1 kickboxing world champion speaks for itself. It would be very interesting to se what each fight would do to counter and negate the other's strengths.
Now, of course, Velasquez vs. Overeem is far from a given for the champion's next step as "The Demolition Man" is currently scheduled to face Antonio Silva in the co-main event of UFC 156 on Feb. 2, 2013. Overeem is viewed as the favorite in the bout and if he lives up to expectations and emerges victorious, booking his next fight against Velasquez is a given.
Beyond Overeem, there aren't any fights in the heavyweight division for Velasquez that jump out as a "must-see." Fabricio Werdum would have an argument for a title shot with a win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in June, and guys like Frank Mir, Roy Nelson and possibly even Josh Barnett will be around if the UFC is desperate for challengers.
One person Velasquez won't be facing, though, is his good friend and training partner Daniel Cormier, who will move over to the UFC following his Jan. 12, 2013, fight against Dion Staring at the final Strikeforce event in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The two fighters are ranked in the top-5 of the heavyweight division, but considering they are teammates at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in California, the odds of seeing them fight each other are non-existent. In fact, Velasquez and Cormier immediately confirmed that "DC" would drop down the light heavyweight division and make a run at that weight class if it means not having to fight Velasquez.
Who would you like to see Velasquez take on in the first defense of his second title reign? Let us know in the comments section below.