Earlier this week, UFC heavyweight Cain Velasquez spoke out to voice his anger at the idea of Alistair Overeem bypassing him for a crack at Junior dos Santos’ divisional strap. Velasquez had been named top contender after a May victory, while Overeem was originally next in line for a title-shot before showing an elevated T:E level in his system brought on by testosterone use.
The hulking Dutchman is currently shelved until late December when he is eligible to apply for a license. However, he’s spent his time submitting random drug tests to establish trust with the public as well as focused on calling out Dos Santos to the point “Cigano” has since stated his interest in facing him. UFC officials have also supported the idea, leaving Velasquez left wondering what his employers’ promises were worth when he was guaranteed an opportunity at the gold less than three months ago.
While I sympathize with Velasquez’s viewpoint, there are a handful of reasons why Overeem is the superior option when it comes to setting Dos Santos up with his next title-defense.
For one, Overeem hasn’t lost in five years while racking up a number of impressive wins, while Velasquez is only a single victory removed from being knocked out by Dos Santos in the opening minute of their match-up. Furthermore, Overeem was considered #1 contender after his success against Brock Lesnar, and while he obviously violated policy by taking testosterone as he did, he ingested it unknowingly as part of a mixture his physician prescribed. Shady? Yes. Still, it should be seen differently than a situation where he was caught red-handed attempting to break the rules.
Additionally, the marketability of a legitimate feud (as there is between Dos Santos-Overeem) can’t be denied, while Velasquez is talented but not much of a showman and isn’t likely to sell any extra PPVs with his personality.
Regardless of what Velasquez feels he deserves, he has to understand it’s out of his control and there is a legitimate reason Overeem has received consideration. The best route for him to take at this point is a bout with Fabricio Werdum where he can legitimately establish his right to a title-shot. Anything else, at least at this point, is likely to result in little more than frustration.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE