While we're all still wondering who’ll be facing Conor McGregor in the likely headline fight at UFC 200 this summer, one fight that could be close to being announced is that of former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez taking on Travis Browne in a fascinating match-up. In a fight that will have massive consequences for both men in the division, Velasquez will look to secure himself another title shot against Fabricio Werdum after yet another injury. Meanwhile, Browne will be hoping to put his recent controversial win over Matt Mitirione behind him.
With so many potential super-fights apparently being lined up for UFC 200 on July 9, this heavyweight clash could well end up being one of the most exciting bouts on the card. Both Velasquez and Browne will be looking to right some wrongs from their respective last appearances in the Octagon and will know full well a win would put them in line for a title shot. Current champion Werdum, who dethroned Velasquez last summer in Mexico City, is set to make the first defence of his title against Stipe Miocic at UFC 198 and the Mexican-American will know that a win over Browne could put him in line for his shot.
There is, of course, the sizeable matter of Big Ben Rothwell, who has been making bigger and bigger waves in the heavyweight division over the past couple of years. Currently riding a four-fight winning streak, all of which have come via stoppage, the number-four ranked heavyweight will meet former champion Junior dos Santos on April 10 in Croatia in a fight for which he is priced at around 4/5 with the betting odds as of March 21st. Should the 34-year-old come away from this fight with another win, it would be almost impossible for the UFC to not reward Rothwell with a title fight. That said, both Velasquez and Browne have big enough names to cut the line should either of them record an impressive win at UFC 200.
Having spent much of his reign as heavyweight champion suffering with injuries, Velasquez's body let him down again at the start of 2016 when his rematch with Werdum was called off due to a back problem that required surgery. With the title shot now gone for the time being, a win over a number seven ranked Browne could be enough to leap the queue and secure a rematch with the Brazilian. Whether you're of the thinking that Velasquez isn't the same fighter he was before his injures, the former champion has shown us before how dangerous it is to write him off.
But Browne will have his own title aspirations after a tough couple of years both in and out of the Octagon. He will be well aware that his own stock didn't rise following his TKO win over Mitirione last time out. The 33-year-old, who has come close to earning a title fight on a couple of occasions during his UFC career only to fall at the last hurdle, spectacularly so against Andrei Arlovski at UFC 187. With the division now as open as it has been for a number of years, the former college basketball star would put himself right in the mix should he manage to beat Velasquez.