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Dana White: Two hours before UFC 187, we didn't think Andrei Arlovski was going to fight

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

As if Andrei Arlovski's roller-coaster first-round upset over Travis Browne at UFC 187 wasn't impressive enough, an ill-timed fight week injury threw Arlovski's status on the card into question right up until Saturday night, according to UFC President Dana White.

"Two hours before he came out, we didn't think he was going to fight," White revealed on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show. "He popped something in his calf the night before, could barely walk, was limping. The doctors checked him out and I guarantee you, he gritted it out to show the doctors that he could fight. So the doctors said it's up to you, do you want to fight? He said yes.

"Then I had people go get him and bring him to my dressing room and said, ‘Do you want to fight? Are you sure you want to take this fight? You don't have to take this fight.' He looked at me and said, ‘Is this seriously why you just called me back here?' I said yeah. He said, ‘I'm fighting,' and he left my dressing room. And then came out and did that."

By "that," White means the remarkable and improbable ‘Fight of the Year' candidate that saw Arlovski finish Browne standing with a dramatic volley of punches despite entering the night as one of the card's biggest underdogs.

Arlovski hurt Browne early in the fight, then spent much of the first round blasting his former Jackson-Winkeljohn training partner with heavy punches before getting dropped himself in a wild scene that invoked images of the 2011 heavyweight classic between Pat Barry and Cheick Kongo.

"I was kind of surprised, to be honest with you," Arlovski said at UFC 187's post-fight press conference. "At the same time, I was confused, because I threw many punches and for some reason I saw his smile on all my combinations, and it was scary. He dropped me and it's good that I stood up and finished him. Everything went lucky for me."

The win marked the latest chapter in Arlovski's astonishing second life as a UFC contender at age 36. The former heavyweight champion is now 3-0 in his second stint with the promotion, with back-to-back first-round knockouts over highly-ranked opposition in Browne and Antonio Silva.

Overall, Arlovski has tasted defeat just once over his last 11 fights since mid-2011, and after Saturday's stunner in Las Vegas, the grizzled Belarusian suddenly finds himself on the short list for the next UFC heavyweight title shot.

"One step at a time," Arlovski said of his title chances. "If somebody's going to call me tomorrow from the UFC about my next fight, then there's my next opponent. But of course, obviously in the future I want to be a champion. Sooner or later, it doesn't really matter. I can be in line, like other heavyweights, so I'm good. I still have a few more years in the UFC, so I'm good."

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