Ever since yesterday's announcement that #1 Heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem had failed a pre-fight drug test and likely won't be facing champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 146, speculation as to possible substitutes for Overeem has been rampant.
Frank Mir, the #4 ranked heavy on the USA TODAY/MMA Nation Consensus Rankings, seems the most likely substitute as he's riding a 3 fight win-streak and has never lost to JDS. He was also already training to fight on the UFC 146 card against former champ Cain Velasquez. Fabricio Werdum, ranked #4 is another possibility although a distant one. Werdum lost to JDS back in 2008 at UFC 90.
Alistair Overeem's T/E Ratio 14:1 | Is A Million Dollar Program The Solution For The UFC's PED Problem? | Mir Ready To Step In For Overeem | Overeem's Win Over Lesnar Should Be Overturned, But It Won't Be | Drug Issues Taint Strikeforce Legacy | Dana Responds To Overeem's Failed Drug Test | Who Will Face Dos Santos? | Overeem Tests Positive For Elevated Testosterone Levels | UFC 146 Fighters Tested By NSAC After Press Conference
Thomas Myers makes the case for "The Last Emperor" at MMA Mania:
(Dana) needs to switch gears on the fly -- a familiar, albeit refined talent at this point -- and again book a match up that will "blow the fucking minds" of fight fans and help them forget that Overeem was even his first choice to co-headline such a significant event.
Frank Mir, the most logical option, isn't going to do that. Josh Barnett is stuck in Strikeforce, and even if he was available, his steroids skeletons are too spooky under the extenuating circumstances. Dan Henderson -- who is sitting around just waiting for meaningful fights -- would be a mistake on so many levels.
Enter the wily wildcard: Fedor Emelianenko.
Sure, Emelianenko doesn't deserve the opportunity based on his most recent body of work. Knocking out Satoshi Ishii and decisioning Jeff Monson are not major accomplishments for a man of his esteemed caliber. Nonetheless, his legendary body of work, as well as his personal history with the UFC and White, prove otherwise.
The case for Mark Hunt is after the jump.
In my humble opinion, this is the most exciting option for the UFC heavyweight strap. Frank Mir doesn't have a prayer against dos Santos and is usually a contender with a win or two over so-so competition after losing a bout. Cain Velasquez just lost to dos Santos and needs another win or two to prove himself.
So really, who else does that leave us? Mark Hunt!
If you are against it, that is understandable. Frank Mir can be the more logical choice. But to suggest that Mark Hunt doesn't have a shot against dos Santos and that his three-fight winning streak has been replicated by many in the shallow pool that is the UFC's heavyweight division is laughable.
Regardless, if you can't do it for the love of Mark Hunt, do it for the social media experiment that it is. This has been an interesting trip that has even landed us on Yahoo. That is really something special and shows that we have made a dent in the proverbial armor of social media. Hopefully Dana is a man of his word and pays attention to the going ons of Twitter and MMA internet communities.
Mike Chiapetta set the odds for each of the possible challengers for JDS at UFC 146:
The Likely Pick: Frank Mir
The Darkhorse: Fabricio Werdum
Unlikely: Cain Velasquez
Josh Barnett or Daniel Cormier