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Beat Brock? UFC: Velasquez, Carwin, dos Santos, Cro Cop, Couture, Nogueira

Who can stop UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar? The UFC's official web site has delved into that question over the past couple of days, and here's the official answer: Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin, Junior dos Santos, Mirko Cro Cop, Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Obviously, the person who would be at the top of the list, if he were under contract to the UFC, is Fedor Emelianenko. But Fedor's absence aside, I think that's a pretty good picture of where the heavyweight division stands, and who Lesnar is likely to fight next.

That list of six potential opponents for Lesnar comes from two articles by Elliot Worsell at UFC.com, one focusing on experienced fighters who would have a chance at beating Lesnar, and one focusing on the new breed. And I think the two articles do a good job of laying out why the heavyweight fights at UFC 102, UFC 103 and UFC 104 are important.

The UFC 102 main event, Couture vs. Nogueira, has been sold more as a chance to see two old warhorses go at it one more time than as a potential heavyweight No. 1 contender match. But I think there's a real chance that if Couture wins, looks impressively in doing so, and emerges from the fight healthy, he could be given a rematch with Lesnar. Couture vs. Lesnar 2 might be the most lucrative main event the UFC could make, and there might be too much money in that fight to pass up. Nogueira, however, would need to beat Couture and get at least one morewin before they'd give him Lesnar.

The UFC 103 fight between Cro Cop and dos Santos will almost certainly not earn the winner an immediate title shot, but it will go a long way toward telling us where these two heavyweight knockout artists are in their respective careers. If Cro Cop wins, it will be his most significant victory in more than three years, since he beat Josh Barnett in 2006. If dos Santos wins, it shows that last year's victory over Fabricio Werdum was no fluke, and it makes him, at age 25, a major part of the future of the UFC's heavyweight division.

And the UFC 104 fight between Carwin and Velasquez has already been labeled by UFC President Dana White as the fight that will most likely produce the next challenger to Lesnar. I think Carwin is going to win that fight, and I think he's probably the UFC fighter who has the best chance of beating Lesnar. I see Velasquez becoming heavyweight champion some day, but I have my doubts that Velasquez is ready for bigger, stronger opponents like Carwin and Lesnar just yet.

So there you have it: Who can beat Brock? Six guys are possibilities, with Couture or Carwin probably the most likely to get the next chance. And you can disregard all of this just as soon as the UFC signs Fedor.