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Will Brock Lesnar-Randy Couture Loser Fight Frank Mir-Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Loser?

We know that the unified champion of the UFC heavyweight division will be decided with a four-man tournament incorporating three huge fights: linear champion Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar, interim champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir, and the winners of those two fights fighting each other.

But what about the losers of the Lesnar-Couture and Mir-Nogueira fights? Will they fight each other? I think they should.

A Lesnar-Mir rematch would be a fascinating fight. Mir used his superior jiu jitsu skills to submit Lesnar the first time they fought, but Lesnar dominated the first minute of that fight, and I think he'd probably be the favorite in a rematch.

If Lesnar and Nogueira are the losers, Lesnar would have a very difficult fight on his hands, and I think it's highly likely that at the end of a Nogueira fight, Lesnar would be 1-3 in the UFC and would no longer be a huge draw for the organization. But Lesnar has said he wants to fight the best opponents, and the UFC has said it won't give him tomato cans. If that's the case, Lesnar-Nogueira is the fight that should happen.

If the losers are Couture and Mir, I think it's fair to say that Couture wouldn't much want Mir to be his next fight. But now that he's signed on with a new three-fight deal with UFC, he might not have any better options. I don't think he's moving back down to light heavyweight, and I don't think the UFC will sign Fedor Emelianenko any time soon, so maybe Mir would be Couture's best fight. Still, of the four possible "loser vs. loser" matches, I think Couture-Mir is the least likely to happen.

Finally, if Couture and Nogueira are the losers, I think they'll fight each other in what would be about as big a main event as you could possibly have between two guys coming off high-profile losses. Couture and Nogueira are both legends in the sport, and aside from Fedor, Nogueira is the most significant heavyweight Couture has never fought. Even if they're in the "losers' bracket," this would be a great fight.

Overall, looking ahead at these heavyweight clashes points to just how strong the UFC heavyweight division is suddenly looking. UFC isn't going to be putting on any shows that match the heavyweight depth of Affliction: Banned, but the highest-profile heavyweight fights in MMA over the next several months will be in the UFC.

More on the UFC heavyweight picture at Bloody Elbow.