Alistair Overeem sh!t the bed, or screwed the pooch, or ate the horsemeat. However you want to put it...there is a very real chance that come April 24th, Overeem isn't going to get licensed to fight Dos Santos on May 26th. Dana White seemed pretty confident that JDS would still defend the title at the event. He's twitter-confirmed that Mir vs Cain will still happen, and Werdum
is terrified to fight Junior again really wants to fight in brazil. So who can fill in against JDS? But to me, it's not a question of who can, but who SHOULD.
They can't just throw any available heavyweight in. Dos Santos vs Travis Browne/Chad Griggs isn't going to be that compelling. This main event is getting a Primetime series. We need someone who is going to raise eyebrows and ignite the interests of the entire hardcore MMA community to the point that it spills over into the interest of the casual fans. Someone with an interesting story. Someone who is just as much a publicity stunt as they are credible opponent, but in the BEST way.
Without further ado, the top 4 options.
Fedor tentatively has a fight lined up for June 21st in Mother Russia against Bobby Lashley. But he ranks as the 4th most Crazy Awesome choice of opponent for JDS. Fedor went on the most successful streak of any heavyweight in MMA history, he fought a few cans, a few guys who belonged in a lower weightclass, a few pretty good opponents, a few guys who were simply enormous, but also more than a few elite level guys. He was heavily sought after by the UFC for a long time. Him coming in for the JDS fight would be too little too late in a big way, as Luke Thomas so eloquently put it, Junior Dos Santos would take Fedor's lunch money.
But just the fact of Fedor finally being IN the UFC, and fighting for the UFC heavyweight title. The MMA community would explode at the news, regardless of how much of a realistic shot people felt he had. The Fedor nuthuggers, Pride fanboys, and people who are just fans the guy would passionately root for him while all of the doubters began a countdown to his demise. But anything can happen in MMA, Fedor still has some of it...so just having him in the title fight would be enough to make us forget Overeem.
Hendo spends most of his time at 185 or 205, but has taken his fair share of fights at heavyweight and won his fair share over the years. He's currently waiting for a title shot in either division...but this could be his golden opportunity to further secure himself as an all time great of a different kind. To be a man that actually won major titles in 3 different weight classes would be unreal. Hell, winning in 3 different weight classes is hard enough. Henderson has the power in his right hand to knockout damn near anyone as far as I'm concerned.
This would be another fight where the odds are GREATLY in Dos Santos' favor...but just the idea of it, of a past his 40s light heavyweight jumping in to take on the knockout artist of the heavyweight champion...that's BIG. Thats the kind of story that gets people talking, writing, and counting down the minutes to fight night. Sure, if Hendo loses, then his win streak is snapped, but at least it happened while he was going for it in the biggest way possible. But if he f'cking won? Could you imagine?
Let's say UFC 145 comes around and Jones destroys Evans in the first round and barely breaks a sweat doing it. He already has plans a little ways off to try a fight at heavyweight. Why not see if he can make the turnaround and take on JDS? Would it be too much too soon? Maybe, but so was a vet like Vera after being DQ'd, so was Shogun on 6 weeks notice. Jones has a habit of getting matched up, then everyone wonders 'Is he ready for this particular challenge or style yet?' and then he performs as if he were ready for that challenge 2 fights ago. He's always ahead of the game...why not fast track him to a heavyweight title shot.
If he loses, fine, short notice, go back to dominating LHW...AND some of the haters might ease up if they perceive him to have eaten some humble pie. If he won? Double weight class champion right there and a guy who will without a doube put asses in seats and get major buyrates from then on out. Also, there would be a lot of mumblings about him 'already' being the greatest because of the speed with which he's accomplished so much.
And finally...the most Crazy-Awesome opponent for Junior Dos Santos at UFC 146...
Wait for it...
Mark. Fucking. Hunt.
Mark Hunt has seen it all. He has a very decorated Kickboxing and MMA career. He's the 2001 K-1 Grand Prix champion and is one of the few men in the UFC who actually have a claim to K-1 Level Striking bragging rights. He had a terrible skid in MMA that saw him lose 6 straight fights. But now he has rebounded with 3 straight victories over increasingly difficult competition. He's got heavy hands and can take some serious punishment. He's also simply a huge, strong dude. He shook off Kongo's attempt at 'Press against the cage and ball bust' almost effortlessly...and Kongo has implemented that tactic against the testicles of many fighters. But best of all is that Mark Hunt comes to stand and JDS comes to stand...that's a great mixture.
Putting him in this fight would not only be huge in the MMA community because of the amazing opportunity for one of the biggest Cinderella stories ever(both in terms of Hunt's story and literal size). But also, the thing that would make booking him for this title that THAT much crazier is the #RallyForMarkHunt...the campaign that has ignited the passion of a very devoted(and awesome) section of the MMA fan community. Just the story of how the voice of the fans got Mark Hunt the fight would be worth devoting a lot of ink to, let alone the amazing opportunity Hunt would be presented with.
And if he won? Just think about if ANY of these 4 fighters actually BEAT Cigano...THE Junior Dos Santos. When you think about the amount of waves it would make...you know that there are no better crazy-awesome choices than these men.