Eyes were opened over the weekend when UFC heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos expressed his interest in silencing smack-talking challenger Alistair Overeem rather than facing the man who was named as top contender a few months back, Cain Velasquez. Among the peepers popped open by Dos Santos’ change of heart were those belonging to Velasquez, a former title-holder who earned his shot at “Cigano” by knocking out Antonio Silva at UFC 146.
Needless to say, Velasquez was far from pleased with the idea of being bypassed for the crack at divisional gold as he made clear this week on The MMA Hour.
“I’m in line next for a title. For Junior, I have the most respect for him as well as a person and as a fighter. I think he represents the sport very well. But as a champion, if you have a number one contender, then you don’t normally get to choose who you fight,” explained the oft reserved Velasquez.
“Dos Santos is not ducking me. He’s a great competitor. He’s a great fighter,” Velasquez continued respectfully. “I just think him and Overeem and him had some words spoken back and forth to each other and he wants to fight him. He really wants to fight him first, wants to beat him. But you gotta get through me first.”
Overeem has openly questioned Dos Santos’ desire to face him while he himself is sidelined for matters related to testosterone use. He is currently unable to receive a license to fight in Nevada until December 27 though the UFC is planning it’s annual New Year’s Eve Weekend event for December 29 with officials already pointing to JDS competing on the card.
Meanwhile, Velasquez appears left in a lurch while circumstances out of his control unfold around him. If Dos Santos is truly off the table due to a tilt with Overeem, other logical options for Velasquez could be Fabricio Werdum or even the winner of the September scrap between Stefan Struve-Stipe Miocic.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC