On December 30th, 2011, over 500 pounds of mixed martial arts heavyweight brawn will collide inside the UFC Octagon. Two of MMA's most polarizing heavyweights will look to destroy one another for a chance to challenge UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos for his newly-found strap.
Former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar and former Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem are both ever popular fighters with a swath of fans and critics alike. There are not too many middle men when it comes to these two; either you are all for them or all against them, but either way, most everyone has an opinion.
This matchup of such iconic heavyweights is a goldmine for the UFC. Their ability to garner attention when they tape up their hands is hard to duplicate, and combining them in a heavyweight super-fight of former promotional champs is a no-brainer for UFC brass.
Simply put, whoever wins this fight, which should prove to be highly competitive, will then face the daunting challenge of dethroning the man simply known as “Cigano.” The best man for that job was just knocked out cold by the new champ as he took the belt from former champ Cain Velasquez.
Yet no matter who wins a chance at Dos Santos between Brock and Reem, something off in the peripheral view of fight fans should be distracting them. That something is former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir, a man who, quite honestly, is far more deserving of a shot at Dos Santos than Brock or Alistair.
No disrespect intended towards two exciting fighters both with championship pedigrees. Yet the math on this one is simple. Lesnar is coming off a loss to Cain Velasquez that took place over a year ago. Overeem is coming off a performance, if you can call it that, with Fabricio Werdum that most can assume he would prefer to forget. The man has not ever once set foot inside the Octagon.
Brock is returning to the cage after his second bout with a very dangerous and taxing condition of diverticulitis. There is no telling what condition or shape he will or even can be in after his corrective surgery.
Before Overeem's fight with Werdum, he too had not fought in Strikeforce in over a year. His previous Strikeforce bout was a title defense against Brett Rodgers. This title defense was his first in almost three years. So his championship status is questionable at the very least. His win streak is undeniable, yet on the other hand, his strength of schedule is.
So, up for No. 1 title contention in the UFC heavyweight division is a guy who has not fought in over a year, and a guy who has never fought inside the UFC. All respect as it is due. Perhaps there is another guy more deserving of a title shot than these two?
Or at the very least, that guy, Frank Mir, should be afforded the opportunity to fight the winner of this bout and earn his chance to face Junior Dos Santos as well. You have the short math on Brock and Overeem, here is the math on Mir.
Since one month before Lesnar's last fight, Mir has fought and won three times in the UFC. Two of those wins were by way of stoppage. Most recently, Mir tapped out Minotauro Noqueira with the filthiest submission this sport has seen since Mir broke the arm of Tim Sylvia. His kimura, in which he also broke Big Nog's arm, marked the first time the legend had ever been tapped out.
Before shocking the world with his second consecutive stoppage over the unstoppable Big Nog, Mir fought to a decision win over the ever-astonishing Roy Nelson. Prior to that, he destroyed another Pride legend in Mirko Filipovic by TKO due to knee strikes.
So, while the business sense of any fight fan can fully understand the allure of Lesnar vs. Overeem, the mentality of challenging rights is left questioning: Why is this fight for No. 1 contender status? Hands down, the true No. 1 contender to the heavyweight title is Frank Mir.
No amount of ticket sales can deny that.
Again, Frank has won three times since one month before Brock's most recent fight, which was a loss by the way. In that same time frame, Overeem had fought and won twice. Once in Dream and the other a lackluster win over Werdum that made fight fans worldwide cringe for 15 straight minutes. Obviously, neither of Reem’s wins were in the UFC.
Mir has been raking in his stomping grounds and proved to be the same top heavyweight he has always been. Something just hasn't seemed right since after his most recent win, as we wonder what will be next for him while we already know either Brock or Alistair will be facing Junior Dos Santos.
If we were allowed to play matchmaker for just a moment, this is what makes the most sense from where Hurtsbad MMA is sitting. Mir fights “Cigano” as soon as possible, no questions asked. The winner of Lesnar and Reem faces Cain Velasquez for the next shot thereafter. Hell, even Cain is as equally deserving of a shot at contender status as anyone else.
This mix up with Cain would allow either a rematch with Lesnar, which he “claims” he wants, or Cain could become the litmus test for Overeem as to how he matches up against a true MMA veteran, which quite honestly, Lesnar has yet to prove he is with any consistency.
So all things being what they are, what we will probably see is the winner of the December 30th match go off and probably lose to Junior Dos Santos. From where we are sitting, neither man can match the striking of JDS (sorry, Overeem fans).
In the mean time, while waiting for the first title defense of Dos Santos, we will most likely see Mir fight Velasquez for the next shot thereafter.
At the end of the day, though, while Bellator is forcing warriors to earn their way to the top, the UFC is still booking fights based on popularity and sales. Understanding that approach from a business standpoint, in the back of the mind of the fight fan, it still just doesn't seem right.
Mir will have to further prove his worth while two guys who haven't earned a thing in the UFC get to fight for a shot at the title while Mir has been killing it. Whoever wins between Lesnar and Reem will earn their first UFC win over a course of time that Mir won three times. That doesn't include the win Mir will have to earn to get one step closer before he gets there.
That math just does not make sense.
This article originally featured at Hurtsbad MMA. Follow us on Twitter @hurtsbadmma.
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