Overeem: "I want it to be over in the first round"
Alistair Overeem is ready to return to the ring at UFC 156
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Contributor
When Alistair Overeem steps foot into the Octagon this Sunday it will be 399 days since he last fought. UFC fans – and undoubtedly his opponent on the night, Brock Lesnar - still vividly remember the full-body assault of slinging kicks and knees that Overeem overwhelmed the former UFC heavyweight with, most notably the ferocious boot to the liver that forced Lesnar into retirement and back to scripted altercations.
It seemed like things were falling into place. “The Demolition Man” was set to have his date with destiny and the UFC heavyweight championship before he tested positive for elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone levels (he recorded 14:1 while the Nevada State Athletic Commission [NSAC] has an acceptable level of 6:1) after a surprise drug test last March - a little over a month before he was scheduled to face then champ, Junior dos Santos.
In a heartbeat those plans disappeared as he was forced to sit on the sidelines for 14 months.
Now that he is on the road to redemption, starting with his main card clash with Antonio “Big Foot” Silva, the prominent Blackzilians team member feels he has done everything to certify his stance as a clean athlete.
Alistair sent four self-administered drug tests to the NSAC for testing which came back negative, and now he is putting his detractor’s viewpoints on the backburner as he prepares for his return: “Well I can only do what is asked of me from the commission and the UFC but you can’t satisfy everybody,” he said.
“If you don’t want to believe me and have faith in [Nevada’s drug testing] there’s not much I can do about that” Overeem told MMA Kanvas.
Overeem has been one of the more active prize-fighters around for most of his twelve-year career, even notching seven victories in a single calendar year in 2010 between MMA and kickboxing.
Having not tested his mettle in a cage since UFC 141, in the latter portion of 2011, this is one of the longest layoffs he has ever dealt with.
“I don’t think [the layoff] is going to play a factor at all, actually. I have 69 fights on my belt and a lot of experience, I imagine if you have had 8 fights total and you have a layoff of a year that matters but when you have my experience it’s just another day at the office,” the former K-1 champion said.
Alistair has held championships nearly anywhere he has gone with Strikeforce, DREAM & K-1 titles on his mantelpiece but the one that has eluded him is the most prestigious of all; the UFC heavyweight championship.
With the recent collapse of Strikeforce, all of the best fighters at 265-pounds (119kg) reside under the same roof and the UFC has never had this level of depth in the land of the giants.
Cain Velasquez is currently the king of the hill after wrestling away the championship with a one-sided shellacking of dos Santos. Holding that piece of gold is a career-defining achievement and Overeem desperately craves the championship to validate his life’s work.
Due to his controversial cycle with the UFC he isn’t assured that a victory will guarantee him a shot at the heavyweight crown: “I don’t know, it’s obvious a lot of factors will determine it. I’m going to leave that to the UFC to determine. I’m going into this six years undefeated so I think that says a lot and I’m going to just do what I do and leave the matchmaking up to the UFC,” Overeem stated.
Always a man on a mission, Overeem also has his eyes set on meeting former champion dos Santos at one point. Verbal venom has been spat between the two gargantuan men, who were expected to meet for the heavyweight crown a year ago.
“Yes, I definitely want to fight him, he’s had a big mouth and there is a score to settle and I tried to make that fight happen when he had the belt and he kind of zigzagged on me,” he says “Now he lost so he has to build himself up again, but I want to fight him and there’s no doubt in my mind that we will meet.”
Before he can begin ticking off names on his bucket list, Overeem has a tough task in Silva. Standing 6 foot 4 (193cm) and weighing 266 pound (121kg), the Brazilian is a physical specimen and a dangerous opponent for anyone, especially someone coming off a year-long layoff, but the Dutchman is confident that his experience will be the key to victory.
“I know my body and I know what I have to do to get there. Also, I have an advantage over other fighters because I know what they are doing, so in that sense I am better than Bigfoot Silva in every way,” he stated.
When posed with the question of how the fight would play out the joyful tone in the voice of the 32-year-old heavyweight changed. After a brief pause he simply said “I want it to be over in the first round and I promise it’s not going to take longer than two rounds.”
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