May 26, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Junior Dos Santos prepares for his fight against Frank Mir (not pictured) before the start of UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden event center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
Junior dos Santos next heavyweight title defense has a date and location but not an opponent like we originally thought.
ESPN.com reports that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta has confirmed that "Cigano" will headline the fight card planned for Dec. 29, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada. But it may not be against Cain Velasquez as originally planned.
That's because UFC President Dana White revealed that Dos Santos doesn't want the fight. And while the Velasquez camp may already be making accusations of "ducking," White explains at the UFC on Fox 4 post-fight press conference media scrum (via MMA Fighting) that "JDS" simply wants to shut Alistair Overeem's big mouth:
"I sat down with Junior dos Santos yesterday, the nicest guy in the world, right? Seriously, you've all talked to him, he's the nicest guy in the world. He said, ‘I have nothing but respect for Cain Velasquez, as a person and as a fighter, and I think he deserves the shot at the title, but I do not want to fight him,' which is not what he said a month ago. He said, ‘Alistair Overeem is a punk, he's got a big mouth, he's been saying lots of bad things about me, and I want to knock him out and I want to knock him out now.' And I said, ‘Junior, I like that. Alright.'"
Sounds like we have an accord, no? Not so fast.
White went on to clarify that he's not necessarily putting together the fight but because Dos Santos has been such a trooper as an employee, he feels compelled to hear him out and at least consider his wishes.
"He's my heavyweight champion. He's one of those guys who, like Frankie Edgar, is a guy who's done everything we've ever asked of him, and he's never asked anything of us, so when a guy like him comes to me and wants something, yeah, I have to consider it. I don't know, he wants the fight. I'm not saying that's what's happening, I'm just saying to you that that's what he's saying. He's saying that he wants this fight, [dos Santos' management was] blowing me up saying they wanted to meet with me, we went to lunch yesterday and he just went off on what a punk he thinks Alistair Overeem is and how bad he wants to knock him out."
Of course, any plans for "The Reem's" return will have to go through the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), the same commission that put him on suspension for nine months and will have to re-license him if he wishes to compete in "Sin City."
That's not to say they wouldn't do so; in fact, it seems likely they would jump at the opportunity. Dos Santos vs. Overeem headlining the annual year-end extravaganza would be a big money-maker.
Ultimately, it could depend on the fans and their reaction to this new turn of events. So what do you think, Maniacs? Would you rather watch Dos Santos vs. Overeem or Dos Santos vs. Velasquez part deux?