The Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight division saw some major moves at UFC 160 last weekend. The UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez retained his title by beating Antonio “Big Foot” Silva and top contender Junior dos Santos defeated Mark Hunt. What do these results mean to the heavyweight divisional rankings and what is next for other top heavyweight contenders?
Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos
With their respective victories at UFC 160, the next title fight has essentially announced itself. Velasquez vs. dos Santos 3 should take place sometime this fall. Dos Santos won the first battle between these two men to win the UFC heavyweight crown and Velasquez returned the favor more than a year later. When they meet, the loser of the fight may be forced to try to drop to light heavyweight to ever compete for a title again or wait for someone else to claim the title before getting another heavyweight shot.
When Hunt entered the UFC, he was riding a five-fight losing streak and lost his debut fight in 63 seconds. All he had done since was win his previous four fights in the UFC before fighting dos Santos as UFC 160. In fact, many fans wanted to see him get the title chance that went to Silva at UFC 160. At this point in his career, Hunt may never fight for a title, but should still put up solid fights with some of the mid-level guys in the division.
To date, the biggest wins in the career of Silva were dominating wins against Fedor Emelianenko and Alistair Overeem. It was his win against Overeem that earned his Knockout of the Night honors and a chance at the heavyweight title. Silva has now been dominated twice by Velasquez and will probably never get a chance to compete for the world title again. Like Hunt, he will give some mid-tier fighters tough fights, but will likely struggle against higher ranked heavyweights.
Big Country is one of the most popular competitors in the heavyweight division. He earned his chance to compete in the UFC by winning “The Ultimate Fighter” and hasn’t looked back. He has suffered tough losses to dos Santos, Frank Mir, and Fabricio Werdum, but has many big victories against Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo, Matt Mitrione, and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. He is expected to fight Stipe Miocic next in what will be the first fight for Miocic since dropping his first career fight to Struve last September.
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