The last time former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos stepped into the octagon, current titleholder Cain Velasquez finished in the fifth found of their third fight.
Fast forward 14 months later and dos Santos found himself in another war – this one with fellow contender Stipe Miocic at last night’s UFC on Fox event – and what a war it was.
Dos Santos and Miocic brawled and bloodied each other for five rounds. The former champion used his striking and experience while Miocic also brought his A game. After five rounds the judges awarded dos Santos with the decision.
With this latest win under his belt, dos Santos has a difficult, though interesting path ahead of him. The UFC heavyweight division is in a bit of a flux at the moment. Velasquez is currently on the shelf. When he returns, he is expected to defend his title against interim champion Fabricio Werdum. If Velasquez is unable to compete, Werdum becomes the champion.
I doubt dos Santos would get a title shot any time soon, but he could be a challenger for Werdum’s title. Dos Santos defeated the interim champion several years ago. It would be an interesting fight as both competitors have gained mileage and accolades since their first encounter.
There are other avenues for dos Santos. A rematch against Mark Hunt or Roy Nelson could main event UFC Fight Night card. There’s also the possibility of a fight against Alistair Overeem, who is coming off a TKO win over Stefan Struve.