Post-UFC 131, it seems more than apparent that Junior Dos Santos is the number one contender in the Heavyweight Division.
JDS showed a dominant standup and ground game in his fight with Shane Carwin, along with the sportsmanship of a true athlete. Furthermore, it seems more than plausible that Dos Santos will be able to take on Cain Velasquez and beat him without much trouble at all.
This isn't to take anything away from Velasquez, who is a great athlete and champion, but Junior seems to be fighting on a whole new level.
Dos Santos showed in all of his fights a willingness to stand up and bang it out with any opponent he faces in the octagon. His most dominant performance may have been against another dangerous striker in Shane Carwin.
Dos Santos dropped Carwin in the first round and beat on him for the remainder of that round, leaving Carwin's face looking like it had gone through a meat grinder. The rest of the fight went to Dos Santos in dominant fashion, and he was a better striker than Carwin in every aspect of the game.
In every one of his other fights, Dos Santos has picked apart his opponents with his dominant striking. He has the ability to capitalize on the smallest openings, and Velasquez isn't ready for the brutal striking of Junior Dos Santos.
Junior Dos Santos has shown an insane tendency to keep pace for three rounds, without showing any decline in his speed or technique as the fight goes on. Furthermore, he is extremely athletic, especially for a heavyweight.
Not many heavyweights have the physique that Dos Santos has, and it shows in his performances that he's as fit as he looks. Cain Velasquez has impressive endurance, but it's going to be tested at a whole new level against Dos Santos.
Dos Santos looks massive even compared to other heavyweights, and it especially showed against Shane Carwin. He just looks bigger and stronger than his opponents.
Carwin couldn't keep Dos Santos down, and none of his opponents have been able to muscle Dos Santos like he's been able to muscle them. It doesn't seem like Velasquez is going to be the one to change that.
You won't see JDS like this.
Dos Santos showed incredible takedown defense as well as offense in his last two fights, stopping both his wrestling-based opponents from taking him to the ground and onto their turf.
Furthermore, once he tired them out in the stand-up, he was able to take them down as well and score the points he needed. Dos Santos' takedowns could still use some work (he almost got caught in a guillotine choke at the end of the Carwin fight) but with some more work, Junior will have another weapon in his dangerous arsenal.
Dos Santos has taken punishment from the heavyweight division's best and never faltered, showing how good his chin really is. He's taken heavy hits from Roy Nelson, Mirko Crop Cop, Shane Carwin, and more, and never once has he even looked like he was going to be knocked out.
Cain Velasquez got rocked in his fight against Cheick Kongo, and Shane Carwin definitely hits harder than Kongo ever will. Along with his great striking, Junior has the chin to back up his punches if he makes any mistakes.
Cain Velasquez is a great fighter, a great champion, and it seems like he's a respectful man, but Junior Dos Santos seems more than capable of dethroning the heavyweight champ and claiming the belt for his own. Dos Santos has great assets in all parts of his MMA game, and it seems his tools are sharper going into this title fight.