UFC heavyweights live up to billing

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:49 PM ET

For the first time in a long time, there is some serious buzz surrounding the UFC’s heavyweight division and, perhaps, legitimate challengers to Brock Lesnar’s belt.

Gone are the days of watching Tim Sylvia babysit a decision against some equally lumbering opponent. Or an undersized Randy “The Natural” Couture punching at the sky against men who outweigh him by 40 lbs.

The marquee division in the world of fighting now boasts at least four legitimate contenders for the crown.

And there’s a bit of drama brewing to boot.

Frank Mir — who will take on Shane Carwin for an interim belt March 27 at UFC 111 — said earlier this week he hopes to break Lesnar’s neck in the cage.

“I want him to be the first person that dies to Octagon-related injuries,” Mir told a U.S. radio station.

In MMA circles — believe it or not — saying you want to literally kill your opponent in the cage is a big no-no.

Mir apologized a day after the story started making the rounds and UFC president Dana White called the comments “disappointing.” He assured fans Mir won’t say anything similar ever again.

But it’s a safe bet Lesnar won’t forgive or forget.

Both Mir and Carwin are legitimate contenders and likely to get the first shot at Lesnar to unify the belts. The UFC was forced to put up an interim title because Lesnar was unable to defend the belt due to illness. He has recovered and is now expected to fight in July.

A win by Carwin would create a showdown of monsters. Both he and Lesnar cut to make the 265-lb. maximum.

A win by Mir would be a pay-per-view dream with the personal dislike between the fighters and the history of trash-talking and even a death threat.

Perhaps the man with the biggest chance to dethrone Lesnar is Cain Velasquez, who is coming off a first-round KO of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 110 last weekend.

The undefeated Velasquez (8-0) is a crisp striker with a wrestling background. His precision punching is unparalleled in the heavyweight class. The Mexican-American, who trains at the American Kickboxing Academy, might be best suited to take out the dominating Lesnar.

Junior Dos Santos has a 10-1 record and hasn’t lost in the UFC, destroying Mirko “Cro-Cop” Filipovic, Gilbert Yvel and Fabricio Werdum.

If the old Cro-Cop ever surfaces in the UFC, he would match up nicely against Lesnar.

Yes, for the first time in a long time, there is some excitement with the UFC’s XXL-crowd.

Now, if they could only convince Fedor Emelianenko’s handlers that it’s time to join the UFC, the heavyweight universe would finally be in order.


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