Morning Report: UFC eying winner of Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne as next for Fabricio Werdum.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It sounds like Fabricio Werdum's inactivity isn't sitting well with the UFC. According to Ariel Helwani's report Wednesday night on FOX Sports Live, UFC president Dana White would like to see the heavyweight No. 1 contender pressed into action sooner than later. With UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez said to be shelved for much of 2014 after undergoing shoulder surgery Tuesday, UFC brass would like Werdum paired with the winner of Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne later this month at UFC 168.

Barnett returns after a vicious first-round stoppage over Frank Mir at UFC 164 in August, while Browne scored an equally brutal KO over former K-1 grand prix champion Alistair Overeem the same month at UFC Fight Night 26. Werdum hasn't competed since early June where he submitted Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC on FUEL TV 10, avenging an earlier loss from a 2006 bout in PRIDE.

Oddly enough, former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos believes he could be next for either Browne or Barnett, saying earlier this week he believed that fight would make the most sense for the division. "I don't know what's next for me, and I don't choose opponents," dos Santos said. "I'll be ready for anyone, but I believe my next opponent can be either Josh Barnett or Travis Bowne."

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Welcome the strawweights. The UFC has announced the creation of its 115 pound women's division which will serve as the cast of the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter. "The 135-pound division has been very successful for us, the fans like it, I'm thrilled with it, and we're going to dive into the 115-pound division now."

Sidelined again. Cain Velasquez undergoes successful surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder and could miss much of 2014.

Jacare. Ronaldo Souza says he has the perfect style to beat Anderson Silva or Chris Weidman. "Many people don't believe in my potential yet, but that's how I like it. I still have much to prove, I've fought only twice in the UFC, but I can guarantee you that I'm ready for any challenge to prove I have what it takes to get the title."

Chat Wrap. Luke Thomas covers a UFC on FOX 9 preview, Georges St-Pierre's future, a recap of an epic weekend in MMA and more in this week's live chat.

PCL problems. Josh Thomson says he was counting on Anthony Pettis pulling out of their title fight after suffering another knee injury. "I tore my PCL the week before I fought Gilbert Melendez the third [time]. There's footage of me doing it, FOX was following me around for it, and I knew exactly what was going on. You can fight with a torn PCL."

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MEDIA STEW

Make sure to check out loads of UFC on FOX 9 interviews ahead of this weekend.

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Chael Sonnen talks getting punched in a bar.

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New TTHS.

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Joe Lauzon vlog episode 1.

(A completely random note, Joe manages to spoil this week's episode of Sons of Anarchy at the very end, so avoid if you haven't already seen it.)

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EFC AFRICA 26: Van Zyl vs. Potts - Fight NOW! TV News Hitz.

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GLORY 13 Tokyo promo - Holzken vs. Karapetyan.

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Mark Muñoz talks Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman 2.

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Action from Valor 6:

David Butt vs. Damon Upton-Greer.

Adam Cook vs. Jeremy Carroll.

Christina Tatnell vs. Amy Adam.

Sam Chapman vs. Cameron Malcolm.

Hoshi Friedrich vs. Eddie Trewin.

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TWEETS

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TUF bound.

Just need coaches.

HR would like a word.

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Get well soon.

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Booked.

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Congrats.

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Let it be the start of something bigger.

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An incredibly unfortunate name for a town.

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A little mitt work.

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Buy stock in pomegranates.

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One step closer to Abu Dhabi.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Dec. 11 2013)

Mike Pyle and T.J. Waldburger at UFC 170

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Hoss.Boss.

TUF Finally Feels Like it Matters with Announcement of TUF 20

Wednesday night the UFC world got a whole lot bigger with the announcement of how the UFC will introduce their new 115 lbs women division. The long running reality series, The Ultimate Fighter, will bring the new division to television audiences in its classic tournament format in order to crown their first women's straw-weight champion.

It has been a long time since TUF had such high stakes, the closest would probably be all the way back in 2006 with The Ultimate Fighter 4: Comeback when the winner of the season got an immediate title shot. The stakes are even higher this time where the winner of the season becomes the champ.

And to up the stakes even more, TUF 20 brings up the best of the 115 lbs division unlike the recently finished TUF 18 which brought some fresh faces and interesting talent, but far from the top of the women's bantamweight division. At first it looked like the UFC would be at least a year or two from a serious straw-weight division since all the top fighters were signed to Invicta FC, but Shannon Knapp's benevolence has allowed the top of the division to move over to MMA's top agency.

Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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