When the news first broke that Alistair Overeem had failed a pre-fight drugs test for his title fight with current champion Junior Dos Santos at UFC 146 the first name that sprung to mind as his possible replacement was former title holder Frank Mir.
Cain Velasquez, who had been scheduled to fight Mir in the co-main event of the same show was also a possible option, but according to UFC president Dana White neither of them will get the title shot.
“Mir vs Cain will happen,” White assured a fan on Twitter, in effect ruling out either of them being moved up to the main event slot.
In some respects that’s good as it’s an excellent match-up and would establish a true No.1 contender in the division, but given that White has also guaranteed that Dos Santos will defend his title at the May 26th event it leaves a big question mark over who his opponent will now be.
With the options narrowed down considerably the most obvious choice now is former Strikeforce star Fabrico Werdum. He’s currently scheduled to fight Mike Russow at UFC 147, but that seems like a bit of a step down for him considering he’s just beaten Roy Nelson and also holds wins over the likes of Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva in recent times.
It’s by no means a perfect choice though. For instance, it was less than a year ago that the man who he may replace, Alistair Overeem, beat him in the Strikeforce heavyweight GP semi-finals after a very lackluster showing, while JDS has already knocked out Werdum and sent him packing from the UFC back at UFC 90 in 2008.
Still, there really are no other serious options available to them at this time, despite the fact that some fans are attempting to convince the UFC to give Mark Hunt, who’s currently on a three-fight winning streak, the opportunity instead.