THE WEIGH-IN: WHO CAN STOP UFC CHAMPION BROCK LESNAR?
Justin Boone - TSN.CA
Brock Lesnar is ready to make his return to the Octagon this summer and there are a slew of fighters waiting for their shot at the reigning UFC heavyweight champion.
Fans would love to see UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Emelianenko, but with Fedor signed on with Strikeforce, the UFC needs to look elsewhere to find a number one contender in the heavyweight division.
So, who can stop UFC champion Brock Lesnar?
Here's a look at the top fighters in the division and where they might stack up.
Fresh on everyone's mind is the California native's knockout over legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Velasquez continued his unbeaten streak and did so in impressive fashion. He is now 8-0 and has catapulted himself into the heavyweight title discussion.
Prior to UFC 110, president Dana White admitted that the winner between Nogueira and Velasquez would be considered as a possible opponent for Lesnar if they earned a convincing victory. Check.
Now Velasquez will wait to see how the rest of the division shakes out, but his relentless style and punishing attack have not gone unnoticed by the UFC's fight makers.
Carwin had Lesnar in his sights before Brock's illness sidelined him. Now Carwin will take on Frank Mir in an interim heavyweight title fight at UFC 111 in March, with the winner expected to get a match against Lesnar in the summer.
The 35-year-old Carwin is undefeated in 11 career bouts, including a 3-0 record since joining the UFC, with all three wins coming by first-round knockouts.
Carwin has the size to counter Lesnar, and the heavy hands to do damage if he gets the chance. If he is able to get past Mir, and isn't injured in the process, he will likely earn a date with his fellow NCAA All-American wrestler, Lesnar.
Mir is the only man to defeat Lesnar in the UFC but the rematch was far from competitive. While it all depends on the outcome of the interim heavyweight title fight, turning Lesnar vs. Mir into a trilogy may not be the most exciting option.
To his credit, Mir has recognized that Lesnar is the fighter he needs to knock off the mountain, and he has taken steps to prepare himself specifically for another shot at the champion.
After their last bout at UFC 100, Mir began adding weight to help counter the oversized Lesnar and along with his world class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Mir hopes the new found pounds will be enough to even the scales.
Couture struggled to deal with Lesnar's raw power when the two collided at UFC 91. While Couture appeared to be the more skilled fighter in the octagon that night, he simply couldn't overcome the size difference, and ultimately lost the title to Lesnar.
"The Natural" is in need of one more big fight and that may not come in a crowded light heavyweight class with Lyoto Machida, Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans, to name a few.
The UFC Hall of Famer is an underdog candidate to get another chance at Lesnar, but Couture has shown at 46 years old, he can still gameplan as well as anyone.
Now it's time for you to Weigh In. Will Cain Velasquez get an opportunity to battle Lesnar? Can the winner of the Shane Carwin or Frank Mir truly challenge the champ? Does Randy Couture have enough left in the tank for one more heavyweight title run? Let us hear your opinion by hitting the Your! Call button below.