With recent news that UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez had suffered an injury that will see him out of action for six to eight months (if not longer), number one contender Junior dos Santos was vocal in his desire for the UFC to create an interim title during the champion's layoff. Velasquez has told MMAWeekly that he doesn't mind the creation of an interim title:
"They need to keep the fights going. They can’t wait around half a year for fights," Velasquez stated. "It doesn’t offend me at all. When I’m ready, I’ll come back and fight."
The champion is fine with it, the challenger wants it, but who would Junior dos Santos face for an interim championship? I stated back when JDS asked for an interim title that Brock Lesnar was a logical choice, but it was illogical for Lesnar to take the fight. It's not that Lesnar couldn't give JDS a good fight, the fight is intriguing, and winnable for Lesnar. The issue for Lesnar is that one, dos Santos is a puncher, and two, winning puts him right back at a rematch with Cain Velasquez. At this stage of Lesnar's MMA career, he has to be careful, not only from a business standpoint, but for his health.
Unless Lesnar is somehow convinced to take this fight, the UFC has few options when looking for an opponent to face Junior dos Santos for the interim heavyweight title. Shane Carwin just got back into the gym coming off back surgery, and it would be unwise to jump into a huge fight like this if he's not ready to come back yet. This leaves one more top 10 heavyweight in the UFC that's available, Frank Mir.
Although there have been grumblings of the Lesnar/Mir rubber match being made, backed by a season of The Ultimate Fighter, Mir has an open schedule, and the UFC has already scrapped the idea for Lesnar vs. Mir III once before. Mir is coming off a knock out over Mirko Cro Cop, which was hard to watch all the way into the third round when the knock out came. Mir fighting for a heavyweight title again isn't something I would have expected coming off the Cro Cop fight, but he's the best option the UFC has outside of Brock Lesnar.
There's no doubt that the UFC has taken note of Strikeforce's heavyweight grand prix, and it's plain to see that Strikeforce is making a play towards convincing the world that the winner of their tournament is the best heavyweight fighter on the planet. The UFC has to move in this situation, or face the possibility of no longer having the #1 ranked fighter in the heavyweight division.