By late December of this year, it will be a full year Alistair Overeem has competed inside the Octagon, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Overeem will be eligible to re-apply for a license to fight after he was suspended earlier this year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for his elevated testosterone debacle which forced him off a much anticipated showdown with heavy-handed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion, Junior dos Santos, earlier this year.
Promotion President Dana White already declared "The Reem" the rightful number one contender upon his return to battle the winner of UFC 155's main event between "Cigano" and Cain Velasquez, regardless of his transgressions and suspension.
Glenn Robinson, Alistair's manager at Authentic Sport's Management, tells MMA Weekly while they appreciate the gesture on the UFC's part, Team Reem wants to fight 'as soon as possible' and should either Cain or Dos Santos be out for a lengthy period after their Las Vegas showdown, taking another fight in the interim is not too far-fetched.
Of course, priority number one is getting licensed to fight:
"Right now, he's not even licensed, so the UFC's hands are tied. The UFC can't book him a fight until he gets licensed. So right now it's all talk. Based upon when he gets licensed and it also depends on if the winner of dos Santos and Cain fight comes out unscathed. What if the winner comes out and has an injury and doesn't want to fight for eight months? So there's a lot of ‘what ifs,' so right now we're just focusing on getting licensed, and once we get licensed then we'll figure out who we're going to fight. We'd still rather jump in and get a fight, so we'll see what happens. He would like to fight as soon as possible after he gets licensed. We're appreciative that Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta) want him to fight for the title, and we're thankful for that, but right now the focused is to get licensed."
Another potential five to six month layoff may be too much to handle for the stir-crazy Overeem, who is chomping at the bit to get back into the swing of things after 12 months on the sidelines already.
But, is it a wise move to take another fight if indeed the winner of December's heavyweight title fight is unable to compete for an extended period of time?
Should that be the case, who else, in your opinion, is ranked high enough to contend against Alistair, who is already guaranteed a title shot if he chooses to wait?