In the fight game, it's often said that a champion isn't proven until he defends his title. To that end, Junior dos Santos is the true Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Champion, blitzing through Frank Mir at UFC 146 this past weekend (May 26, 2012) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It took six months for dos Santos to get back into the Octagon to defend his strap for the first time, but it only took him eight minutes to remind the mixed martial arts (MMA) community the reason(s) he is the best heavyweight in the world. Using his precise and powerful striking, "Cigano" peppered Mir at will, while keeping just enough distance to prevent the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to grab hold of any of his limbs and fall victim to his crafty submission game.
After surviving a barrage of punches from dos Santos in the closing seconds of the first round, Mir couldn't escape the strikes that were in store for him in the second frame. After landing a big straight right that connected cleanly and dropped Mir to the mat, the former champion just didn't seem to have anything left to get back up.
Accordingly, the referee was smart enough to end the fight and prevent further damage, though "JDS" did sneak in one final shot for good measure.
Now that dos Santos has his first defense under his belt, he can look forward to his next challenge, which will more than likely be against the man he won it from back at UFC on Fox 1 on Nov. 12, 2011, Cain Velasquez. The former champion earned his shot at revenge by putting on an even better performance than Junior on the co-main event, dismantling Antonio Silva with ease and painting the canvas red with "Bigfoot's" blood.
Speaking to Tatame, dos Santos says he is ready to rematch Velasquez should he be next, but he doesn't really care who he fights, as long as it's not a "drug using" Alistair Overeem:
"Let's do it (Cain Velasquez rematch). I don't care who my next opponent is. It depends on UFC and, whoever it is, I'll be ready to do my best and keep this title for a long time. I don't think about fighting anybody. Overeem is paying the price to do drugs. If he keeps on doing it, I hope they keep him far away from me. If he stops doing it and come to fight a fair fight for us who don't use it, he will be welcomed. If UFC wants to match me up against him someday, I'll do my best to beat him."
Successfully defending the title for the first time was a big accomplishment for the Brazilian bomber, however, winning it was a much greater success:
"I guess winning. It was so big in my life and I was on such a frustrating moment, I wasn't feeling 100 percent and God's been good to me. The outcome was perfect. The title defense is very important, but earning the title is greater."
There is no exact word on when Velasquez and dos Santos will square off for the second time, but first things first, "Brown Pride" will have to get medical clearance to compete as he was hit with a six month-long suspension after he injured his hand on Silva's face.
Overeem, on the other hand, will be unable to make his way back inside the cage until Feb. 2013 at the earliest because of his suspension that was handed down by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). Upon his return, UFC President Dana White says he will still be the divisions top contender.
Let's not forget that Daniel Cormier is also waiting in the wings and ready to take his talents to the UFC, too, after winning the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
No matter who he fights in his second title defense, dos Santos' title reign will surely be tested.