Since the news that Alistair Overeem tested positive for elevated testosterone, turning in a sample with a 14:1 ratio (Nevada allows as high as 6:1), the questions over who would replace Overeem after the inevitable suspension have been constant. With one of the more unrealistic options falling out as possibilities with Fedor Emelianenko's camp announcing that he now has a fight scheduled for June in Russia, the most obvious choice for a replacement seemed to remain Frank Mir.
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Mir was scheduled to fight Cain Velasquez on the same UFC 146 card that was supposed to see Alistair Overeem challenge Junior dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight title, so it would be an easy switch to make.
But now Dana White has shot down that idea on Twitter:
Could this mean that the #RallyForMarkHunt movement has finally cracked Dana? Or is there another option?
Let's run through the top 15 ranked heavyweights on the USA TODAY / SB Nation Consensus Rankings to see what viable options remain:
- Junior dos Santos - Well, JDS can't fight himself.
- Alistair Overeem - Unless somehow his B-sample tests clean, he's out as an option.
- Cain Velasquez - Dana just shot down the idea of Cain or Mir moving up to the title shot.
- Fabricio Werdum - Mike Russow at UFC 147 is a bit of a waste of Werdum, I suppose he's an option. Although he lost a really lame fight to Overeem just two fights ago. A rematch with dos Santos wouldn't be horrible three and a half years later.
- Frank Mir - Again, shot down by Dana.
- Josh Barnett - Not going to happen with the Grand Prix finals coming up and the way Showtime wants the finals to be handled.
- Shane Carwin - Recovering from injury, not an option.
- Daniel Cormier - See: Josh Barnett
- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: Recovering from a broken arm.
- Antonio Silva - Knocked out in his last fight, unlikely as an option.
- Fedor Emelianenko - As stated, has a fight in Russia. Not that that couldn't change, but he's very unlikely.
- Brendan Schaub - Knocked out last fight, not a title challenger yet.
- Mark Hunt - Why not?!
- Roy Nelson - Dominated badly by Werdum in his last fight.
- Travis Browne - Get serious.
Mark Hunt is the only realistic option (with Cain and Mir eliminated by Dana) that has won more than one fight at in a row. This is getting interesting.
Fabricio Werdum may remain the "best" option though.