At UFC 203, Stipe Miocic finished Alistair Overeem via knockout in the first round. This fight marked the 34-year-old champion’s fourth knockout in a row, after he’d already disposed of Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski and Fabricio Werdum in a similar fashion. Following a vastly impressive title defence for the Croatian-American, only one question remains – who’s next?
Werdum, the former champion, also fought at UFC 203, picking up a decision win against Travis Browne. In his first fight since losing the Heavyweight title, Werdum opened the fight with a flying kick that looked like something from Mortal Kombat rather than an MMA bout. From there on out, he proceeded to give Browne a sound beating, scoring a knockdown in the first round and landing 84 significant strikes over the three round fight. Werdum is an obvious choice for Miocic’s next fight, given that he’ll be chomping at the bit to get his shot at a rematch for the belt and a victory against a high-class opponent like Travis Browne will put him in good stead for a title shot.
Junior Dos Santos has earned some impressive accolades over the span of his MMA career. He was the first person ever to defeat Cain Velasquez, winning the Heavyweight title in the process. He can also boast wins over some of the best that the heavyweight division has to offer, including Cro Cop, Roy Nelson, and Mark Hunt. While Dos Santos has struggled to find consistency after his first loss to Velasquez, he has beaten Miocic once before and in his last fight, he ended Ben Rothwell’s impressive winning streak. There is no doubt that Dos Santos is still a championship level fighter and he could prove to be a formidable opponent for Stipe.
Before his decision loss to Junior Dos Santos, Ben Rothwell was on an absolute tear in the UFC. He racked up an impressive four-fight winning streak, including a submission win against Josh Barnett – making him the first person ever to submit The Warmaster. While some may argue that the loss to Dos Santos has scuppered his chances of earning a title shot, it’s hard to ignore that winning streak, which also included a TKO win over Alistair Overeem. Rothwell’s hands are just as heavy as Miocic’s and his ground game is superb. Putting these two in a cage together could produce one of the most brutal wars that fans have seen in a long time.
This is a fight that a lot of UFC fans would absolutely love to see. Velasquez fought at UFC 200 for the first time since losing his title to Fabricio Werdum last year. He demolished Travis Browne, earning a first-round TKO victory. Velasquez has been one of the top fighters in the Heavyweight division ever since he beat Brock Lesnar for the title in 2010. His rivalry with Junior Dos Santos was nothing short of epic – three fights that culminated in Velasquez winning the rubber match via TKO. He is a world-class striker with an excellent wrestling ability, who could prove to be the toughest opponent of Miocic’s career. The problem, however, is that he has only won one fight since his loss to Werdum. Could we possibly see a rematch between the two? Velasquez vs Werdum to determine the number one contender – a mouth-watering prospect.
Who do you think deserves a shot at the title next? Let us know in the comments section.