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Most Wanted: Andrei Arlovski Is The Heavyweight Division’s Top Free Agent

andrei arlovski 1With the current landscape of the UFC’s heavyweight division seemingly in complete disarray with the recent news of it’s current champion, Brock Lesnar, being sidelined for an indefinite amount of time due to a nasty intestinal infection, it now seems as if a certain “Pitbull” out of Belarus could have a more profound impact on the promotion he sides with, now, more than ever before.

An unlikely candidate to be the most sought after free agent in the business having been knocked completely unconscious in his two previous outings in the cage, Andrei Arlovski has the type of star power and mass appeal that could serve to give either the UFC or Strikeforce a significant advantage in the ongoing, and ever crucial heavyweight war.

One could look to boxing as a prime example of the impact the biggest, most dangerous fighters have on combat sports. When there was a marketable, dominant champion such as Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, or even an Evander Holyfield at the top of the heavyweight mountain, boxing flourished. On the other side of that coin, the title reigns of fighters such as Wladimir Klitschko or Larry Holmes can be viewed as dismal times for boxing, when the sport took a significant hit in it’s mainstream fan base.

The main point being, the heavyweights are as vital to mixed martial arts as they are in any of the other form of fighting sports. The general public grasps the concept that the reality of the matter is that big man generally beats little man, especially when we’re talking about the top athletes of the sport. Everyone wants to know who the absolute baddest man on the planet is. It’s been that was since the day’s of the Ancient Romans.

When you look at the talent pool of the heavyweight rosters over at the UFC and Strikeforce, without Brock it doesn’t appear that either side holds a considerable advantage. I’ll list the top guys in both organizations and you can be the judge.

UFC

  • Shane Carwin
  • Cain Velasquez
  • Junior dos Santos
  • Cheick Kongo
  • Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
  • Frank Mir
  • Gabriel Gonzaga
  • Todd Duffee
  • Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic

Strikeforce

  • Fedor Emelianenko
  • Alistair Overeem
  • Brett Rogers
  • Fabricio Werdum
  • Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
  • Shane Del Rosario
  • Roger Gracie
  • Lavar Johnson

Now granted, the current UFC heavyweight roster looks a little bit thicker than that of the competition, but throw Andrei Arlovski on the end of that Strikeforce list and things aren’t looking nearly as lopsided as before.

Andrei has a long history of getting paid well for his involvement in a televised scrap, and I’d imagine that the bidding war that ensues to pin down Arlovski will leave him as one of the highest paid athletes in the sport.

Can you think of a single fighter on either promotion’s list of heavyweights that you wouldn’t want to see Arlovski throw down with right now?

Arlovski vs. Velasquez; I’ll take it. Arlovski vs. Mir; That one’s been a long time coming. Arlovski vs. Overeem; You see where I’m going with this.

As soon as Andrei is secured to either promotion, any doubts as to the depth or the validity of the respective division would be almost instantly erased.

So let the games begin, and let the best heavyweight division of mixed martial arts emerge the victor.

26 COMMENTS
  • cere says:

    I’d watch him regardless of where he ends up and I agree that he would add a lot to which ever promotion ends up with him. However, exactly because of the way his last two fights went, there might not be as much of a bidding war as made out. yes, with Lesnar and Big Nog sidelined, the UFC might be more interested again, but Dana made no secret after the Fedor fight that his stock had dropped. After the Rogers fight, it plummeted. Needing to bring in depth to make up for Lesnar might not be enough to get Dana drooling over Andrei just yet.

    Whatever, I just hope he returns to action soon. His fights are always entertaining.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

  • dstager says:

    “Can you think of a single fighter on either promotion’s list of heavyweights that you wouldn’t want to see Arlovski throw down with right now?”

    Uh…yeah. How bout the two guys at the top of the Strikeforce Heavyweight roster. You know, the ones who handed him those back-to-back KOs.

    Well-Done. Thumb up 25 Thumb down 7

  • 27jride says:

    I have to agree, I find it hard to believe that a guy who got KO’d by Fedor and Rogers consecutively would be at the top of Dana’s shopping list. In fact, it would make Dana and UFC look a little pathetic for pandering to a guy who dropped 2 in a row to Strikeforce heavyweights who don’t even own the title (not that Fedor doesn’t deserve it, but technically Overeem is still holding it hostage). Think about how that makes UFC look…. DESPERATE! I love Andre and would like to see him at the top of his game again fighting the top guys (I’m not a UFC ball-licker but c’mon, when they’re all healthy the HW division is way better) but, I really doubt either of those scenarios are gonna take place. SF will sign him because they can build up a rematch with either Fedor or Rogers and UFC won’t try too hard because Dana doesn’t wanna look like a desperate pussy. Honestly, Arlovski loses one more fight to anyone other than Fedor or Brock and he becomes a gate keeper like Elvis Sinosec (great guy, mediocre fighter) and who wants to see his fate go that way?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 9

  • trunk says:

    I think the UFC is so stupid for not picking up Arlovski. He is a good fighter and he has a fairly big name.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 23

  • jj says:

    You don’t have to be on a winning streak to be signed by the UFC, Phil Baroni is a good example of that. I’ll watch Phil wherever he goes, win or lose, because he is exciting.

    The same could be said for Arlovski, I’d like to see Andrei fight any time and I don’t particularly care against who. Training to be in the UFC could be just the motivation that Arlovski needs to get back to his winning ways. Keep in mind Andrei dropped his last 2 fights to top competition, not to some green n00b.

    Well-Done. Thumb up 17 Thumb down 6

  • RoadsideGraphix says:

    What about Bobby Lashley??

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 25 Thumb down 21

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Remember before AA became the beast everybody thinks about when he was the ufc champ , he was coming off 2 consecitive ko losses to Rizzo, and Rico. He came back from thoes two ko losses pretty well.

    Well-Done. Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  • RoadsideGraphix says:

    Really? You thumbs down a question? Talk about overly critical!

    AA is a good fighter but like Chuck, Matt Hughes, Ken Shamrock & a few others… his time may have passed him by.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 15

  • Vogairian says:

    I think before anyone could put big money on Arlovski they need to make sure his head is on straight. I mean wasn’t it not too long ago that he had mentioned suicide? If he’s in the right place though, I agree he could be a nice contender for either Org.

    Right now is an interesting time for the UFC and SF though. Both of their top dogs in the HW division are down and out. It seems like this is the perfect time to try and build up guys to have some interesting matchups when they come back.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  • Yourdaddydevilandlord says:

    Dana should sign him and put him in a title tourney against Cro Cop in round 1, loser is dropped from the UFC. Dana won’t push him because he doesn’t want the guy who just got back to back knock outs(victim perspective) against the competitions top 2 guys

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  • bigguy says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Weak-Sauce. Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    I said this earlier. I want to see Adrei back in the UFC. Yes, he got KO’d in his last two, but look at who it was from! Those shots would have KO’d ANYONE!

    Why do you guys hold that against him so bad? He won his last 3 in UFC, 2 in other promotions before the losses. Jesus, he’s not Glass Joe. Knock outs DO happen. Didn’t make his stock drop in my book.

    AA vs Velasqez, Mir, Kongo etc. is an awesome match-up idea that I for one would pay to see.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

  • 27jride says:

    I’m not saying he’s not a great fighter- just that It could be perceived by some to look bad for UFC to pick him up at this point because of who he lost those last 2 fights to. If you’re Dana do you really want to get the guy that got beat by the competitions top 2 guys who you’ve talked tons of shit about?

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    So people are saying because he lost to Sylvia, Fedor and Rogers his time has passed him by? What about his victories over Sylvia, Nelson, Rothwell, O’brian and Werdum recently???? and his great showing against Fedor before he got caught. I mean Fedor IS the best ever and Sylvia and Rogers are nothing to be ashamed of as they are both highly touted themselves. Again I’ll bring up Couture and Baroni who both only have 8 victories out of their last 15 fights! would any of you suggest they be dropped?. If I was a company I would snap him up because he is 1 of the top fighters in the game, despite his loses to the best ever and a rising star. Valasquez beats Rothwell and everyone is saying “oh yes he is for real” Arlovski does it and people say he is past it, go figure. Is it a “in the the UFC” and “out of the UFC” thing, because that is what it seems like. I really hope he goes for SF because he would be a huge addition and as fans I think we want SF to succeed he also may have options of fighting not only the guys listed above but Aleks, Kharitonov, Gracie and perhaps Monson or even Rizzo. I think SF needs him more because they are the ones trying to make a name and that is one thing the UFC has in abundance, name recognition. It seems any HW fighting for them is somehow, in a lot of fans eyes, better than really are and those out of the UFC worse than they really are.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  • In UFC

    I want to see AA vs. Cro-Cop or Mir

    In Strikeforce

    I want to see AA vs. Rogers (Re-Match)

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  • Niv says:

    Ozz-the_ Powerful “I said this earlier. I want to see Adrei back in the UFC. Yes, he got KO’d in his last two, but look at who it was from! Those shots would have KO’d ANYONE!”

    You are absolutely correct, I’ve always been pissed about people disrespecting AA for losing two back to back ko’s to big hard hitters like Rogers and Fedor.

    I find that the criticism is more Fedor hate than it is Arlovski hate. Since when has it been a black mark on your record to be ko’d or beaten by Fedor? If there’s a fighter on earth that it’s win, win just to step into the ring with him it’s Fedor. If you lose, you did what most of the world expected and if you win, holy shit! These days of course everything is upside down and when Fedor beats you, you instantly become a bum.

    Arlovski is a top HW and regardless of which organization he goes to he’ll instantly be one of the top HW’s in the world.

    I look forward to seeing AA fight again.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  • Jak says:

    I’m not sure what to think.

    Rothwell vs. AA… nothing happened for a round and a half, nice knock out, but not much else.

    Nelson vs. AA… He got taken down by Nelson, and while i don’t think he would have got the submission, a premature stand up definitely changed the fight. And it was against NELSON!

    Werdum vs. AA…. worst fight ever. booo!

    Werdum vs. Obrien.. it was like the Rothwell fight, kind of sloppy…

    And those are the wins, counting the losses, that’s along between putting out a dominant performance.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Thats a bit harsh Jak.
    Did Arlovski KO Rothwell? I thought it was refs stoppage TKO. Anyway the dude has never had the chance to set the record straight as far as his top 10 status goes so I hope he gets that chance in some way, be it UFC or SF. Cuz as far as I can tell he is still top 5 material you have to gain and lose you status as far as I’m concerned and guys like Valasquez and Carwin need to fight top 10 guys or at least a few top 20 guys in order to get that Status. Don’t get me wrong Valasquez or Carwin may beat everyone but they havn’t yet, so awarding these guys top 5 berths without having them fight any top 10 fighters doesn’t make sense to me. It is as if they get status based on potential or cuz they look the part. In the same way do you lose top 10 status because you lose to No.1 and another top fighter? I don’t think you should no matter how poor people THINK you looked in victory.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  • Jak says:

    If AA did end up in the UFC i would like to see him fight Gonzaga.

    2 super inconsistent talented Hw’s, with the winner getting Frank Mir…

    i could handle that. :)

    Well-Done. Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  • Connor Cobain says:

    I just said on a comment yesterday that the UFC needs to bring this guy back in, Its crucial. When he and Sylvia left the UFC was lucky they had a downpore of talented new fighters but now that there back in a clinch they could realy use this guy. I realy hate Strikeforce and think Arlovski would rather fight back in the UFC as apossed to the half assed compitition.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

  • cere says:

    bigguy: I don’t see Fedor leaving M1 when his contract expires with them, given is a part owner of M1.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  • cere says:

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that AA shouldn’t be brought into the UFC because of his last to fights. I think the argument is that Dana will not be hyped to get into a bidding war for him because of his last two fights. I think Dana would sign him in a heart beat, but it won’t be with the contract he had before and it certainly won’t be improved through a bidding war that won’t happen.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  • manny says:

    The ufc will try to sign him and try to build him up again. Good hands, but NO chin.. Don’t really care who he signs with, he wont be a champ in either organization

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  • Knowone says:

    Whether Arlovski wins or loses he will make people watch. That’s what both promotions need desperately right now. Arlovski is a marketable fighter because he either KO’s his opponents or gets KO’d. I tune in everytime to see which one it will be. Great article!!!

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Ray Pist says:

    Dana doesn’t want Andre or Big Tim… it’s for a very simple reason…and it isn’t that they left the UFC for more money in Affliction…the reason he probably won’t sign either is that both of them could potentially make a run at the UFC HW title, and both didn’t make it out of the first round against Fedor, Arlovski didn’t escape the first with Rogers either, and well an overweight Big Tim got KOed by an overweight old Mercer.

    What would it say about the UFC HW’s if say Arlovski made a run…and even god forbid won the title again…I would put my money on Arlovski over Mir, Couture, or Herring….who are the 3 fighters the current champ holds wins over? Now I think the UFC could derail him by putting him in the cage with a very strong wrestler with decent hands…and they got 3 guys who come to mind, Carwin, Velssquez and the champ…but nothing is to say Arlovski catches them coming in, gets a win, then Dana has to admit Fedor is the true champ…and Dana won’t do that!

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  • Ray pist….well put. But then again Tim was just not marketable….after he got to the point where he just fought to not lose people started booing the crap out of him. AA his last two UFC fights were garbage and the Marcio Cruz fight he actually won hangin onto the cage the whole time for the TKO. Would i still like to see him throw down with Mir(oh yeah we got robbed of this one a few years back) Gonzaga for sure….someone would get finished brutally or Kongo…sure. But I see him and Cain bein a snooze fest and him and Carwin bein Andre lookin bad against a more athletic MONSTER. Wouldnt mind seein him back, I just don’t think he’d be the most marketable.

    And I would LOVE to see Baroni get tossed….he gets beat up constantly and he’s disrespectful to everyone.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

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