Andrei Arlovski is not guaranteed to be the UFC’s next heavyweight title challenger. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The resurgence of Andrei Arlovski was one of the hottest topics to emerge from a memorable UFC 187 main card.
The Belarusian has won three straight in the Octagon after stopping Travis Browne via first-round TKO in a wild slugfest that earned both men “Fight of the Night” honors ths past Saturday. After a four-fight losing streak -- three via KO or TKO -- from 2009 to 2011 had many thinking Arlovski was past his prime, “The Pit Bull” has only been defeated once in his last 11 outings since then.
Browne, ranked in the Top 5 in most heavyweight polls, was the signature triumph of Arlovski’s return to prominence, and the fact that he won while nursing an undisclosed injury made his effort all the more impressive to UFC brass.
“The fact that the guy almost didn’t fight -- he was injured and came in to take the fight anyway,” Dana White told UFC.com . “He put on an unbelievable performance. It’s one thing to come in and catch a guy and keep dishing it out, but he ate a couple of big shots, too. He was able to finish the fight against a younger, taller, stronger, faster guy. It was unbelievable.”
In a span of approximately 11 months, Arlovski, who also owns victories over Antonio Silva and Brendan Schaub during his most recent UFC stint, has propelled himself into heavyweight title consideration. The Jackson-Wink MMA product first captured the belt with a 47-second submission of Tim Sylvia at UFC 51 on Feb. 5, 2005. He defended the strap twice before losing it in a rematch with Sylvia at UFC 59. He left the Las Vegas-based promotion in 2008.
However, White is not yet ready to commit to Arlovski as the division’s clear-cut No. 1 contender. In addition to Arlovski, both Stipe Miocic and Junior dos Santos still have legitimate claims to that spot. Much depends on the result of the heavyweight unification championship bout between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188 on June 13.
“It would be incredible if he [Arlovski] makes his way back to the UFC title,” White said. “We’ll see what happens. We have Werdum next, so I’m not even thinking about who’s after that in the heavyweight division.”