· Alistair Overeem ~ Better Than Ever
When MMA Spot.net's J. Andrew Yount asked: 'What has made the difference in the newly minted Alistair Overeem?' The answer came easily, "strategy."
The Holland native (26-8) has often been seen to have unlimited potential by many in the sport. Recently, he has found his stride, stamina, and strategy on his way to putting together several dominating performances in a row. With submission victories over MMA veterans Gary Goodridge and Mark Hunt, and a knockout victory over K-1 superstar Badr Hari, he is now being regarded as one of the brightest stars in all of Mixed Martial Arts. For Overeem, and many of the sport's die hard fans, his success is not as surprising, as it is overdue, “I don’t know, I’ve always thought of myself as being rebellious but wanted to be the best. It is slowly coming and I feel happy about that. I work hard for it.”
The 6’4” heavyweight has had such an amazing run of late that he is reportedly in contract talks with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and was even a guest at the most recent UFC Pay-Per-View in Ireland. “I was impressed. The fans were great and the fights were good,” he said. Along with UFC, Overeem has many options available to him, “My management has talked with the UFC and also with the K1, Dream, and Strikeforce (where I am the Heavyweight Champion).” In the meantime, is he happy with his current situation, regardless of a new contract or an extension? “Yes, I still have two fights left on my original Dream contract.” That being said, where would he prefer to fight? “Holland is my home base, but it feels strange to fight there. Maybe because I’m not fighting there a lot. Then America, which is nice. The fans are very enthusiastic. And Japan has great fans too, but very different than America. The shows in Japan are a lot bigger also.” As for all of the recent critical acclaim and attention he has gotten, he says that he is surprised by it all, “A little yes, but like I said, I have worked hard for it.”
Regardless of where or for whom he is fighting, he seems certain to continue fighting as a Heavyweight as he says he regrets ever fighting at Light Heavyweight, “Definitely, being a natural Heavyweight, I had to cut to the Light Heavyweight. So being on a diet all of the time cost me a lot of strength and cardio. To fight when you’re not 100% fit--I’ve had that a couple of times. But becoming a more complete fighter also makes you learn how to stay fit. Now, I am eating a lot, doing fitness exercises and I’m feeling better than ever.” As the conversation turned from present to the future, ‘the Demolition Man’ cited a short but distinguished list of fighters on his radar, “I want to defeat the best so I would like to fight Remy Bonjaski in the K1, and Fedor in an MMA fight.” And what about finishing what he started with Mirko CroCop, and the multiple attempts to sign a rematch? “He has ducked me, and in our first fight I clearly have shown the world I am stronger than him. So now, he is no longer a priority for me.”
With the CroCop fight behind him, Alistair would point to a couple of losses as some the toughest fights in his career. “My last win against Badr Hari has been a nice win. I’ve had several good opponents. Hard fights I would have to say, was Shogun in the Grand Prix finale but also Kharitonov who is now a teammate and is a good fighter.” Sergei Kharitonov, Overeem, and Semmy Schilt are only a handful of world class fighters coming out of the Golden Glory fight camp, “I train with Errol Zimmerman, Saki, Chalid Arrab, Stefan Leko, and a bunch of others less known fighters. I train twice in the morning, rest in the afternoon, and train in the evening, Monday to Friday.” He also trains with his brother Valentine Overeem, a veteran of over fourty-five professional MMA fights, “My brother has long been a hero for me with great submission and KOs. We’ve fought on several occasions at the same event in both Holland as well as Japan.”
When asked if he had any sponsors he would like to thank, Alistair would playfully open the door to any and all potential partners. “Well actually, I am looking for a sponsor, so if anybody reads this ……….haha. Also, have a look at my website, www.alistairovereem.com and visit www.mmauniverse.com to get the official Alistair Overeem shirts.” **
by J. Andrew Yount