Since Alistair Overeem's failed drug test results became known yesterday, Bloody Elbow has exploded on twitter with support for Mark Hunt to replace him, along with a little loud dissent. I can understand why some fans think the idea is preposterous, but I think a logical case can be made (as if the awesomeness of being able to say Mark Hunt, UFC Champion, wouldn't be enough).
While Mark Hunt's overall record is less than impressive, sometimes timing can be the most important factor in scheduling a fight. With an all HW main card at UFC 146, most viable candidates are already on the card, so it will just be a matter of shifting around fighter matchups. Using the SBNation HW rankings, I will try to show why Mark Hunt vs JDS is the best option available.
Here is the current top 15 HW fighters:
|1||Junior dos Santos||350||UFC||1|
|9||Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira||243||UFC||9|
|11||Fedor Emelianenko||149||M-1 Global||11|
Looking at this, there are very few viable options to face JDS at UFC 146. According to the rankings, the most deserving would be the former champ, Cain Velazquez. The problem here is his last fight was a 1:07 KO by the current champ. Making things worse, his last win was in October 2010, making it a full year and a half since he has a win of any kind.
The next choice would be Frank Mir, who has the best case on paper to be made for the shot. He is on a 3 fight winning streak, including breaking Big Nog's arm. The problem with Mir is, what is his path to victory? Before Nog initiated the grappling exchange against Mir, he was beating him like a pinata in the standup. Now Nog has good boxing, but it is nowhere n the same league as Dos Santos. Mir has never shown good offensive wrestling, and there is zero chance JDS is going to make the mistake Nog did. Simply put, I don't think Mir can match up with JDS to deliver a competitive fight.
Fabricio Werdum is slightly ahead of Mir in the rankings, but he and JDS have already fought, and the champion has evolved more as a fighter than Werdum. Its not a rematch I care to see, unless Werdum shows he is a different fighter.
The next four fighters in the rankings are irrelevant, either because they are fighting in the final of the SF HWGP (Cormier and Barnett), or are out with injuries (Carwin and Nog)
Bigfoot Silva is coming off a crushing defeat at the hands of Daniel Cormier, so he is out.
Fedor isn't happening. Not now, probably not ever in the UFC. I would love to see it one day, but he is not the same guy worthy of an immediate title shot he was before his 3 fight losing streak.
Brendan Schaub was slaughtered by Big Nog his last fight, so he is out.
That brings us to Mark Hunt. He is the only man on this list who has the tools to compete with JDS standing. He may be the first man in the UFC that can force JDS to use his mythical ground game that is so highly touted. As fans, we would see a knock-down, drag out fight that will entertain no doubt. Hunt is a former K-1 Grand Prix champion, and the UFC can use that as a promotional tool to hype the fight. While Hunt has certainly had down moments in his career, he and Mir are the only viable HWs on any kind of a winning streak, so this could be his time.
Frank Mir is without a doubt the logical choice on paper. I understand this, but JDS is a beyond terrible matchup for him. I believe the possible Mark Hunt vs JDS matchup is a far more compelling fight. Is JDS a better striker than the former K-1 champ? Will JDS be forced to use his ground game for the first time in the ufc? Can Mark Hunt KO Junior Dos Santos? Those questions are far more interesting than those about a possible Mir vs JDS fight. The only questions regarding that fight is when JDS wins and how.
I would rather see the fight with intrigue and nostalgia, mixed with the pure awesomeness of MARK HUNT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh I almost forgot, if you aren't doing this already... #RallyForMarkHunt lets get this shit done!!!!