("Blackhouse Brazilian Iced Tea? Those foolish MMA fans will buy anything.")
While on Larry Pepe’s Pro MMA Radio show yesterday, Yahoo! Sports MMA writer Kevin Iole threw out a crumb likely fed to him by Dana White that Junior Dos Santos will not sit around waiting for UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez to heal from his torn rotator cuff, but will instead face a yet-to-be-named opponent for the UFC’s popular interim heavyweight strap.
"[Dos Santos] is going to fight for an interim title. They just have to find a contender to fight him. So for that one, I don’t think he should have to wait because he was going to fight for a championship. The UFC will declare the winner of Dos Santos versus "X" the interim champion, so it is his championship fight. He will go down in history if he wins that fight; even if he loses subsequently to Cain on the way back, he’ll be known as a former UFC heavyweight champion, just like Frank Mir‘s second reign," Iole explained. "When Shane Carwin beat Mir he became the interim champion, so there were guys that even though the belt was out, they were still recognized as a champion. I think that situation is very simple. Dos Santos should fight, he will fight, they’ll find a heavyweight contender he’ll fight for the interim championship while Cain heals and that will be that. Just like [the runner up in the] Miss America [pageant], he’ll assume the duties [of the champion] while the champion is healing."
The question is, who is the most logical contender to face Dos Santos?
The two fighters who fit the bill are Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin, both of whom are coming off of losses in their last fights, which doesn’t help either of them plead his case for a title shot, but when you go down the UFC’s heavyweight roster, it’s clear that they are the two best opponents for Dos Santos at the moment.
An intriguing twist would see Carwin, who has begun light training since undergoing back surgery late last year and says he’ll be ready to fight by June, and Brock Lesnar coach opposite each other on next season of The Ultimate Fighter and the winning coach earn the shot at Dos Santos. Considering that Iole stated earlier in the show that Middle Earth fighters Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber will likely get the coaching nod, we won’t get our hopes up, but THAT would be TV worth watching.
*UPDATE: It’s looking like it might be Carwin. "The Engineer" revealed in a blog post today that he was slated to face Roy Nelson at UFC 130 and that UFC matchmaker Joe Silva called to inform him last week that they instead needed him to headline UFC 131 in Vancouver against a yet-to-be-named opponent. Chances are it’s going to be JDS.
Here’s Carwin’s take on the situation:
"So last week we got the call from Joe Silva asking if we would consider fighting Nelson at UFC 130. We accepted the match up and UFC Matchmaker Joe Silva said that it was 90% a go. The next day we were informed that they went a different direction for Nelson and that they want me to fight someone at UFC 131 in Vancouver. I have once again rapidly accepted the date.
As of this blog no opponent has been mentioned. Other than the MMAjunkie story I have not heard anymore about my June 11th return. I am pumped to be aboe to fight in Canada. The international fans are so pumped for the shows and if you have never been to B.C. I am certain BC stands for Beautiful Country.
I am training hard and working on fixing the issues I ran into during the Lesnar fight. I will be ready and I hope that I am indeed fighting in June in B.C..
For now I am just a fighter training and waiting. I will keep you all posted as soon as I hear something that I can announce."