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White suggests Velasquez-Cormier possible; Barnett not getting quick title shot
by Dann Stupp and Matt Erickson on Feb 03, 2013 at 9:00 am ET
LAS VEGAS – On Saturday at UFC 156, Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva derailed Alistair Overeem's planned title shot and threw the heavyweight division into a bit of chaos. Even UFC President Dana White isn't sure what to make of it.
Overeem (36-12 MMA, 1-1 UFC) was promised a title shot if he beat Silva (18-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC). However, in the pay-per-view co-headliner of UFC 156 in Las Vegas, Silva beat down the former Strikeforce champion with a violent third-round assault.
With a previous loss to current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (11-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and a modest two-fight win streak, Silva won't take Overeem's spot and get the next shot. Additionally, other than ex-champ Junior Dos Santos, who's 1-1 against Velasquez, there's no clear No. 1 contender.
So what about Josh Barnett, who's in talks with the UFC about a potential deal? The former Strikeforce fighter recently rebounded from a grand-prix finale loss to Daniel Cormier with a submission win over unheralded Nandor Guelmino. If a deal is reached, could Barnett get the next shot?
"No, there's no way," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Cormier is here, know what I mean?
Cormier (10-0 MMA, 7-0 SF), of course, is already under contract and slated to fight former UFC champ Frank Mir (16-6 MMA, 14-6 UFC) in April at UFC on FOX 7. Barnett, though, is still in negotiations. White, though, is encouraged Barnett and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva can come to terms.
"Joe's been dealing it, and I haven't been," he said. "But I can tell you this: I haven't heard anything negative. I haven't gotten any calls going, 'Josh Barnett is crazy. He's out of his mind.' I haven't had any of those calls."
And though many in the industry assumed Cormier wouldn't fight Velasquez, his American Kickboxing Academy teammate, White didn't completely rule out the possibility. It's unlikely, he said, but it's not impossible.
"I'd be shocked if Cormier came out, fought Mir and beat Mir, and said, 'Now I want to fight Cain Velasquez,'" White said. "I'd be shocked if that happened. I would see him coming out and saying 'I want to go to 205 (pounds)' before that happened.
"But he's never said that to me, just so you know. From what I understand, Cain and Cormier would fight each – from what I understand. But I would be shocked if he did. I mean, those guys were in there hugging for 15 minutes after [Velasquez] won the title.
"But who knows? They're pretty serious guys, and like I always say, it's all about proving who the best is. 'That guy might be my friend, but I know what he's got, and I know what I get when I get that belt.' Because all the guys who've got a champ in their camp, they see how these guys live and what the deal is when you've got that belt. When you've got that belt, it's a whole other ballgame."
For complete coverage of UFC 156, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
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