Either the MMA world is currently in one incredible time warp, or the 2015 version of the MMA community has witnessed the career comeback of many formerly written-off UFC veterans.

In any event, the sport saw arguably one of its more recent shockers when Fabricio Werdum came into UFC 188 as the UFC interim heavyweight champion, and after turning up his offense like never before, left Mexico City with a submission win over now-former two-time UFC heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez, as well as the unified UFC heavyweight title.

Of course, the main surprise of the bout dealt more with how thoroughly Werdum took the cardio machine’s paramount weapon away from him prior to the fight-clincher, Werdum’s expertly-executed guillotine choke, than with the fact that Velasquez suffered his first submission loss in the country of Mexico, but now that the win sits in the rear view mirror, we now find ourselves looking closely at the heavyweight division landscape. Many great heavyweights may fight for the sport’s most recognizable entity and look good doing it, but even with Werdum defeating Velasquez, the division appears no different now from what it was when Cain held the title because a competitive gap exists between the heavyweights vying for the crown and the man on whose head it lies.

In other words, a lot of solid heavyweights like Roy Nelson, Stipe Miocic, Frank Mir, Alistair Overeem, Antonio Silva, and Mark Hunt, among others, exist in the division, but their best hope at this point might be to impress enough to get a fight with former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, who owns wins over every single one of the aforementioned names except Silva and Overeem. Still, dos Santos needs at least one more fight to keep his name alive in the heavyweight title sweepstakes after extremely difficult contests with Velasquez and Miocic, and Velasquez could stand to look towards a bout with someone along the lines of a Travis Browne to get himself back in contention as well. Meanwhile, Miocic comes off a win over Hunt, “Bigfoot” awaits Soa Palalei in Brazil at UFC 190, Mir is set for a bout with Todd Duffee in almost two weeks, and Nelson, fresh off of a UFC 185 loss to “The Reem”, counts down to his battle with former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett this September in Saitama.

This scenario leaves out a gentleman by the name of Andrei Arlovski, whose career turnaround mirrors Werdum’s, save for the title win against the top dog of the division, but why not consider making a bout between Arlovski and Werdum happen? After all, a number of factors play into how the bout would make a great amount of sense.

First off, Werdum would need a contender for the title as immediately as possible, provided we don’t see the UFC play the “immediate rematch” card with Velasquez, and as we have mentioned already, any other potential option for Werdum or Arlovski is either booked, or in need of more wins to prove their own case. Arlovski has never been shy about taking a bout, as long as he knows where and when it will go down.

Also, competition can create intrigue when two parties share history with each other. Lest we forget, Arlovski defeated Werdum during Werdum’s first UFC run, albeit in a somewhat forgettable bout. Even with that in mind, history does not always repeat itself, since Werdum has demonstrated clear improvements in every aspect of his game while keeping his ground game exceptional, and that can create an alluring conundrum for Arlovski, even with how much different Arlovski has looked now, in comparison to when he looked like he was at the tail end of his career.

The stars can align for this bout to go down, and perhaps the result will be a far better fight than their first meeting, but more than that, there is the question of if Werdum is for real as the champion, since Arlovski’s win over Browne came at UFC 187, while UFC 188 was Velasquez’s first bout since 2013, but as far as anyone else is concerned, nobody will know until someone tests Werdum. As many champions will attest to, claiming a title is difficult, and defending it is ever more arduous a task, but when it comes to the UFC heavyweight title, any old adages about being the champion take on new meanings, and for Werdum, that means that anyone that stands between him and his newly acquired belt can take the belt from him in as quick a fashion as he won the belt to begin with.