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Dana White: Junior dos Santos Close to a Title Shot

At the end of the UFC 108 Countdown show that aired on Tuesday night, UFC President Dana White made an interesting comment about the importance of the heavyweight bout between Junior dos Santos and Gilbert Yvel.

"If Junior dos Santos goes in there and knocks this guy out, he's there," White said. "He's ready for that title shot."

Is that really true? Could dos Santos get a title shot in his next fight if he knocks Yvel out?

On the one hand, I think dos Santos is a great puncher who's a threat to anyone. But at the same time, I think if dos Santos really gets a title shot in his next fight, it says more about the current state of the UFC's heavyweight division than it does about dos Santos.

Right now, based on my own list of the Top 10 heavyweights in MMA, I'd say the UFC heavyweight division rankings go something like this:

1. Brock Lesnar
2. Frank Mir
3. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
4. Shane Carwin
5. Cain Velasquez
6. Junior dos Santos

Beating Yvel really wouldn't move dos Santos up the list (although maybe if he completely obliterates Yvel I'd consider moving him ahead of Velasquez), so dos Santos hasn't earned No. 1 contender status just yet.

The problem is that we have no idea when the champion, Lesnar, will be able to defend his belt again. Right now it looks like we'll get Mir vs. Carwin in the spring, with the winner of that fight taking on Lesnar if Lesnar can return in the summer. So that means the heavyweight title picture will consist of those three guys -- and not dos Santos -- for the forseeable future.

And even beyond that, if we do get a fight between the Mir-Carwin winner and Lesnar, we've also got Velasquez vs. Nogueira at UFC 110, and the winner of that fight will be ahead of dos Santos in the heavyweight rankings. I'd love to see dos Santos take on the Velasquez vs. Nogueira winner, but I don't think dos Santos would be willing to fight Nogueira, who's a friend and mentor.

And that means dos Santos is going to have to keep fighting guys who are lower than him in the heavyweight rankings. If he whips Yvel it will be another impressive step forward for an impressive young heavyweight, but I don't think he's going to get a title shot any time soon.

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