NOTE: Scroll down to the bottom if you want the short version Back before and during the Sylvia days, then Couture, and until a certain point of the Lesnar days; the UFC Champion was just the UFC Champion. He was not necessarily the #1 Heavyweight or the true "guy to beat" at Heavyweight. That was Fedor Emelianenko. The former Pride Champion, the WAMMA Champion (basically a continuation of the Pride title) and the #1 ranked Heavyweight in the world. Then something crazy happened: Fedor lost. He lost to Fabricio Werdum. Sadly MMA always as simple as "beat the man become the man" and though it was controversial to a lot of people, Werdum didn't jump to #1 because he was too low ranked when he fought Fedor (he was either #8 or #9 when he fought Fedor) Instead the rank of #1 was up for grabs between the winner of Brock Lesnar vs Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar won in round 2 via tap out. but at that point, though Brock was ranked #1, there was still a lot of controversy as to whether or not he was "the man to beat" Belts arn't everything. Some things mean more. So while Brock was Champion, a lot of people looked at Werdum, they (oddly at the time) looked at Alistair Overeem; and Josh Barnett, and a couple of the better UFC contenders like Cain and Junior Dos Santos. Well then the scene cleaned itself up a little bit. Cain took out Brock, Junior took out Cain. Barnett was defeated by Cormier (finally getting him out of the discussion which he had been in solely because he hadn't been defeated in such a long time) but a combination of things created a potential new "man to beat" First off, Alistair Overeem defeated Fabricio Werdum, thus all the people who said Fabricio should be "the man" because he was the one to beat Fedor, where now looking to Alistair but it was more than that. A lot of people will argue that hype (real or otherwise), potential, and momentum shouldn't be taken into account nearly as much as pure wins but the truth is, anyone who's paid attention to MMA over the years knows that hype/potential/momentum often play a very big role in the politics of MMA. They're the reason someone like Glover Teixeira is getting offered fights with Rampage and Shogun despite only having one win in the UFC (he has two now but he only had one when those fights were first offered) They're the reason someone like Anderson Silva got a MW title shot with only one win in the UFC. They're the reason Brock Lesnar got a HW title shot with only one win in the UFC. They're a big part of the reason someone like Nick Diaz was touted as potentially the man to beat GSP before even his win over Penn. I could go on and on. but the point is this "it factor" that I'm talking about, this combination of hype/potential/and momentum had people believing that Alistair Overeem may have already been the Best Heavyweight in the World even before the Duffee fight (where Bas Rutten said it and many others agreed) NOTE: not saying anyone said he deserved a #1 ranking. Rankings and actually being the best arn't always the same. One of the best examples of this factor at play was the Alistair's recent fight with Werdum. It's funny, I said earlier a belt is just a belt, and that's true, but a rank is also just a rank when people know that it's not right. What speaks the truth in MMA more than anything? Odds. Can they be wrong? OF COURSE! Upsets happen all the time but... the favorite wins a lot more than the underdog does. And here's the crazy thing about Alistair Overeem vs Fabricio Werdum 2: On paper, there's almost no reason Werdum shouldn't have been a favorite -Werdum was the seasoned HW, who had been fighting high ranking HW's his entire career while Overeem had almost exclusively been fighting cans and weak opponents since moving to HW -Werdum was the one who JUST BEAT FEDOR in his very last fight -and Werdum held a win over Alistair Overeem. Think about that... HW who's fought and beaten well ranked HW's, just beat the best HW in the world, and already his a win over his upcoming opponent vs HW who's fought only weak HW's, only has one win over a top 10 ranked HW, and lost to his upcoming opponent in the 1st match. Who's the favorite out of those 2? Who sounds like they should be? Obviously the first guy but guess what? Alistair Overeem was a -290 favorite, in some places as high as -365. I say again: Belts are just belts. Ranks are just ranks... but odds speak more truth than anything. What was it the oddsmakers new that defied logic? The style of the match? Or was it the fact that something about The Reem had looked unstoppable (even if it was only against weak opponents and in another sport) Then the Reem fights Brock and is again the favorite, only a slight favorite but this time against a man ranked in the top 3 at the time, and the Reem is the favorite. TLDR/Getting to my point: Despite his many impressive wins, I don't think Junior Dos Santos (or Cain) can possibly be the true top heavyweight until the Reem is beaten. I think he has as much, if not more momentum going for him than JDS. I think if they were scheduled to fight that Overeem should be the favorite because he is the true man to beat at Heavyweight.