Fabricio Werdum doesn’t want to defend his title until March. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
While Saturday’s showdown between Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir at UFC 191 failed to deliver on more than a decade of hype, it’s unlikely that a more emphatic Arlovski triumph would have made any immediate waves in the heavyweight pecking order.
It appears that no matter who manages to distinguish himself as the division’s top contender in the coming months, that fighter will have a lengthy wait to get a crack at heavyweight gold. While the promotion has already announced that a Cain Velasquez will get a rematch against current champion Fabricio Werdum, that fight is not likely to take place until 2016.
“Unfortunately this heavyweight division is tied up right now,” UFC President Dana White said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “The fight won’t happen until March, the next heavyweight [title] fight. We’ll see how this thing plays out, and we’ll go from there.”
Werdum defeated Velasquez via third-round submission at UFC 188 in Mexico City on June 13, but “Vai Cavalo” apparently won’t be ready to defend the crown this year. According to White, fighting in March was the Brazilian’s choice.
“That’s [March] when Werdum wants to fight,” White said.
Arlovski, meanwhile, earned his fourth consecutive UFC win by outpointing Mir, his former training partner. However, the three-round verdict was not nearly enthralling as his previous two wins, stoppages of Travis Browne and Antonio Silva.
“I said I was going to finish him in the first round,” Arlovski told Fox Sports 1. “But I didn’t take him seriously. He got me a couple of times. In the third round I woke up. Of course I’m disappointed. I was surprised that he kept fighting all three rounds. I need to do something differently with my training.”
Although Saturday’s co-headliner didn’t match expectations, White still respects the work Arlovski and Mir have done to resurrect their careers.
“For these guys to still be here doing what they’re doing, it’s impressive. I don’t think the fight tonight was the fight that everybody expected, but sometimes it doesn’t turn out that way.”