Alistair Overeem simply doesn't deserve an immediate title shot when he returns to the Octagon.
Earlier this month, Dana White mentioned that UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos had asked to fight Overeem instead of Cain Velasquez. It seems that Overeem's trash talk has gotten under the skin of the champion. White debunked the thought that the fight would happen and said Dos Santos would fight Cain Velasquez in December.
After testing positive for elevated testosterone levels prior to his UFC 146 title shot, Overeem was denied his license to fight in the state of Nevada. He will be able to re-apply for a license on December 27. That leaves the door open for him to become the immediate number one contender for the title in early 2013. And that simply should not happen.
There are three big reasons Overeem should be required to fight at least once before being granted a shot at the championship.
First, he was effectively suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. When they declined his license he was instructed to not compete in another state or jurisdiction. While it is not officially a suspension, there's really nothing else to call it.
A fighter should not challenge for a title after being barred from competition. It sets a bad precedent.
Secondly, because of the suspension, he will not have fought for over a year. Should one UFC victory over Brock Lesnar and a year-long layoff earn someone a title shot? No. He should be forced to fight at least once before earning a shot at the championship.
Lastly, Daniel Cormier, should he defeat Frank Mir later this year in Strikeforce, is the next in line for a shot at the title.
The disdain that Dos Santos has for Overeem should not elevate him to the title shot. It is always great when the fighters dislike one another, but that should not be the determining factor when deciding who gets the next title shot.
And, honestly, aren't we getting ahead of ourselves? What if Velasquez defeats Dos Santos in the rematch?
The bottom line is that Overeem is in no position to challenge for the UFC Heavyweight Championship at this point in time. Other fighters have put themselves in a position to become the next contender by being active, winning fights and not being put on the shelf by an athletic commission.
Overeem is still in the mix; one quality performance will grant him the title shot that he wants. Why rush it? After being away from the cage for a year, he probably needs a tune-up fight anyway.
When Overeem returns to the cage, he will have the opportunity to prove that he is the next in line for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. With the recent heavyweight performances this year, there are plenty of exciting and quality opponents for him to face in his return.
Regardless, Overeem does not deserve an immediate title shot upon his return to the UFC.