MMA UK’s Exclusive Interview with Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem

This is a huge moment for MMA UK as we interview our first champion. We’ve interviewed some very talented and fantastic people for the blog, but now we’re going into the championship quality fighters. Overeem is the current Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and was a mainstay in the old PrideFC. He still fights for DREAM and participates in K-1. MMA UK has an in-depth interview with Overeem to discuss everything in his career so far,plus more.

If you’re not familiar with Overeems fights, check out this video.

Although you’re known to a lot of MMA fans, MMA is still a growing sport, so could you give a description of your career up until this point?

Google me and you will see… No, I’m joking. I’ve been a professional fighter since I was 17 years old so I’ve been fighting 13 years. I have fought in Rings, where Nogueria, Fedor and Couture also fought at the time. Then I became world champion 2h2h and then moved to Pride and fought in the 93kg division. In 2005, I became 3rd place winner in a tournament where 16 of the best fighters fought like; Wanderlei Silva, Quinton Jackson, Sakaruba, Shogun, Arona and Nogueira to name a few.  I’m now the current heavyweight champion of Strikeforce and I also fight in Dream and K-1 in Japan.

 

Where did the nickname “The Demolition Man” come from?

I was playing a videogame with a friend of mine and my manager called me and needed a nickname right away. I told him, I will call you back in a few minutes. Then I discussed with a friend of mine and he said. “Why not Demolition Man?” I thought fine by me. So I called him back and told him Demolition Man and then it stuck. Now that I’m a heavyweight I go by the name “The Reem” (laugh)

What’s a normal training session like for you?

I work every day except the weekend and train twice a day. The training involves stand up, groundwork, conditioning and strength training.

You spent a lot of time in PRIDE FC during your earlier years. Do you feel as if that was a good proving ground for you and a way to get your skills shown on a national level?

During the time I fought at PrideFC, it was the biggest league of them all. So yes it was a great experience to fight on the biggest platform at the time.

What was your first match like in PRIDE? Were there any nerves or had you managed to get to grips with those sorts of feelings before you got into the ring at that time?

In the beginning you can’t control your nerves very well. Fighting in front of 30,000 people is not something to take on lightly. The whole show is so overwhelming it’s difficult to stay calm. I was very young at the time, but I knew I had to win my first match , so although I was nervous I was also calm when the fight started. Now I’m used to it and my experience comes in to play and I’m very relaxed now.

 

You had some memorable wins in PRIDE FC. The wins over Vitor Belfort and Igor Vovchanchyn come to mind. Which win was your most memorable during your years there?

I have to say Belfort because he was the favourite going into the fight. He was never submitted before and was a big name then. I was young and hungry and advancing to the last 8 was a great achievement. So the Belfort fight was kind of special. The fight against Igor was also a special one. He was one of my favourites when I started fighting so it’s always something when you fight a big legend as him.

Even though you’ve had some fantastic wins, six of your eleven losses occurred whilst you were in PRIDE FC? Which loss was the most memorable for you and why?

I have to say the second fight against Nogueira. I was not in great shape. I had some big back problems and couldn’t fight. At the time you had to fight so I stepped in the ring and that wasn’t smart to do. When he hit me my corner knew it was a big risk so they decided to throw in the towel. I know if I was 100% fit I had a big chance of winning the fight but that’s old news, time to look forward.

Which loss would you like to avenge the most and if so why would you like to avenge that loss?

To be honest I rather look in the future. If I have to say a name I would say Werdum. The reason IS because the other fights don’t make sense, they are light heavyweight fighters. Werdum is a heavyweight and fights in Strikeforce just like me. With me being the champion and Werdum coming of a win against Fedor makes it a good moment to do the rematch.

You’ve had a lot of fights in Asia. What is it about fighting over in the Far East that attracts you?

My career started there so Japan is a special place for me. Furthermore the Asian culture is so different that every time I come I’m surprised how people live their lives, it’s fascinating. They are very respectful and they have a tradition of fighting so I love to come and fight for their audience.

Is it hard to adjust to fighting in a cage compared to fighting in a ring, considering you hadn’t fought in Strikeforce for a number of years before your recent fight against Brett Rogers?

No not really. There are some things you have to keep in mind but I haven’t faced any difficulties in fighting in a cage. I have fought early in my career often in a cage so it wasn’t something new to me.

I don’t think many people asked your opinion on the Fedor Vs Werdum fight. Although it was an incredibly quick fight did you see any weaknesses in either opponent that you felt that you could take advantage of if you had to fight either of them?

No, I think Fedor was too eager and Werdum used it and applied a textbook choke. Early in a fight both fighters aren’t very sweaty and Werdum still has his strength so it was the perfect moment for him to take advantage of the mistake Fedor made. Great win for Werdum.

It’s still unclear who you’re going to fight. Who would you prefer?

Werdum. I flew to the states to challenge the winner and Werdum won the fight so a fight with him has to take place. He deserves a title shot.

Many people were surprised at how easily you finished Brett Rogers. Considering he gave Fedor a lot of trouble, yet you seemed to finish him with relative ease, do you feel as if that’s a benchmark and that fighting Fedor might be easier than people have made it out to be?

No not really, every fight is different and you can’t compare my fight with the fight Rogers vs Fedor. They were  two different situations so they have two different outcomes. If Fedor threw that punch in the first 10 seconds then this question would be irrelevant.

 

How do you feel about the current quality of the Strikeforce Heavyweight division? Do you see any real opponents after your next fight with Fedor or Werdum?

They have a good roster of fighters. They just signed Kharitionov and my brother and there are still quality opponents like; Silva andLashley. There are  up and coming fighters such as Shane Del Rosario and veteran Arlovski.

 

There have been a lot of rumours about your increase in mass over the years. However, they seemed to die down after you passed an actual test before your fight with Rogers. Is it a bit of a relief to finally have people off of your back?

 

I’m like every other fighter, I take my test and it came up clean just like I thought it should be.

You were seen at UFC 93 and it seemed for a while that you’d be going to the UFC? How come that never came to fruition?

I don’t know to be honest. My management talked to the UFC and they couldn’t reach a deal. I still wanted to fight in Japan for Dream and K-1 and a UFC contract don’t allow that. So that could be the reason why they couldn’t make a deal.

Do you see yourself fighting their sooner or later?

Maybe in the future. For now I’m happy with Strikeforce but I never rule out anything.

As a fan of the sport, which young Heavyweights are you most impressed with at the moment, and why?

I don’t watch much MMA to be honest but I like Brock Lesnar, he’s an interesting character and a good entertainer. Fighters like JDS and Cain Velasquez are young and can be the future of MMA.

You’re also a pretty awesome K-1 fighter? Which rules do you prefer fighting under, MMA or K-1?

MMA is my number one love but I love the K-1.

You’re at the prime of your career and you’ve kept yourself pretty healthy? Looking back at a pretty plentiful career so far, what do you think has been the best moment and where do you see your career going in the future?

I think my best moment is yet to come. I still have some goals I would like to achieve. Getting the K-1 belt and winning the Dream heavyweight belt is something I would love to do. Furthermore defend my Strikeforce belt.

Thanks for your time Alistair, is there anyone you’d like to thank?

I’d like to thank all my fans for supporting me and please check out my new website http://www.alistairovereem.com where you can find my online documentary.

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2 Comments

  1. Wow, thats a pretty big name. Congrats on the Overeem interview.

    • Yeah man…Been saving the interview for about a week, waiting to burst it upon people lol


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