It has yet to be announced who will be the next man to challenge newly crowned UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum for the title, and it seems as if the UFC has some options. No. 2-ranked former champion Junior dos Santos seemed to be the obvious choice, but UFC president Dana White has previously said that JDS is injured, narrowing the UFC’s decision down to two men: No. 3-ranked Stipe Miocic and No. 4-ranked Andrei Arlovski.
Another surging heavyweight being left out of these talks is “Big” Ben Rothwell, who has put together three-straight finishes over Brandon Vera, Alistair Overeem, and most recently Matt Mitrione. Speaking recently on the topic, Rothwell actually believes that he may need one more win to earn a title shot. He’s hoping the UFC gives him Arlovski or “Cigano” as he hopes to prove himself:
“I’ve been in this sport a long time, and I feel like dues are paid,” Rothwell (35-9 MMA, 5-3 UFC) told MMAjunkie Radio. “I just feel like I need one more win before I make that call. So give me Andrei (Arlovski) or Junior (dos Santos) and I’ll prove my case.”
“Big” Ben actually recently called out Arlovski, and spoke on why he didn’t call out JDS, who has now claimed that he’s not injured and would like to fight for the title by the end of the year. Rothwell also threw in former champ Cain Velasquez, and Travis Browne as potential opponents to lead him to a title shot:
“Everybody heard me ask for Arlovski next, and if I can’t have him, obviously it’s Junior dos Santos,” Rothwell said. “He’s claiming December. There’s two reasons I didn’t call him out – I said I wanted the No. 1 contender spot, so Junior dos Santos would have been the one I was calling out. But he was saying he was injured, and then he was crying because he said he didn’t like (UFC heavyweight) Alistair (Overeem) calling him out because he was injured. So I’m like, fine buddy, I’ll leave you alone. Andrei and I will fight.
“But now, all of a sudden, Fabricio wins, and Junior’s like, ‘Oh, I’ll be OK again!’ OK, good, you can fight me then. So either one of those guys is good. Travis Browne and Cain, any one of these six guys are good fights, but they’re on a loss, and generally it’s a win versus a win.”
So what about Miocic? Well, Rothwell believes that the Croatian may actually receive the next title shot, saying that Miocic has made a good case:
“Stipe is right there in the middle of the pack; it’s a great fight (for me),” Rothwell said. “But I feel like somebody’s got to fight Fabricio, and people are like, oh, (Stipe) lost to Junior. That was a super close fight; he had a great win streak prior to that fight and then comes back and dominates against Mark Hunt. He’s made a good case.”
Hopefully the UFC starts booking fights soon, as the heavyweight division has not looked this intriguing in years. Who should receive the next title shot, and who should Rothwell meet next?