When Alistair Overeem returns from serving out his sentence for failing a drug test, his first fight back could be contingent on fan reception and organizational forgiveness.
If Dana White finds himself in a charitable mood, maybe he’ll throw Overeem a meatball to kick around. Nothing erases the stain of a hot urinalysis better than a devastating knockout victory.
However, if Uncle Dana is still perturbed that Overeem lied to his face and ruined a huge title fight, then he could end up throwing Overeem to a wolf.
Here are five great fights for the bruising Dutchman when he returns.
Mir has expressed interest in fighting Overeem in the past, so this match could make a lot of sense. Mir is coming off a brutal loss to Junior Dos Santos, and tossing him in with an animal like Overeem may not be the kindest thing Dana White can do for him. But hey, Mir is a big money fighter, and big money fighters don't have the luxury of tune up fights.
In the skills department, Mir would have to figure out a way to drag Overeem to the mat or he'd be in big trouble. He simply cannot stand for very long with the former K-1 champion and expect to go home with his face intact. If Mir can get it to the mat though, he'll twist Overeem into a balloon animal.
Assuming Mir wants to take a little time off after getting whooped by Dos Santos, that makes the timing for this fight pretty good too. Overeem will be allowed to re-apply for a license around the end of this year.
Not exactly a realistic option considering Cain is probably next in line for a title shot, but hey, anything can happen in this sport. That being said, it might be a good idea for Overeem to use this time off to drill takedown defense. Lots of it.
Cain's potent mix of stellar takedowns and vicious ground-and-pound could mean a rough night for Overeem. Sure, there aren't many guys at heavyweight that should stand and bang with Overeem, but when the threat of the takedown is there, he's a little hesitant. And Cain is good enough standing to mix up his attack to keep Overeem completely off guard.
By some unforeseen circumstance, this fight is a possibility, especially if Dana White is still irked with Overeem.
This fight could be the third act in a Spartacus episode. Two large men with action figure builds slugging it out is always a crowd-pleaser.
Kongo is sold as a kickboxer, but his kickboxing skills aren't on par with Overeem's. He does, however, have underrated takedowns and some downright brutal ground and pound, and good enough stand-up to keep it interesting for a little while should he fail in the takedown department.
This fight would depend on how the division plays out over the next six months. It's not exactly a main event-worthy matchup, but it would make for an entertaining main card scrap.
And if the fight turns out to be a wash, they can always argue about who has the best pectoral muscles.
I know what you're thinking—this is a cruel suggestion. Top-Five fighters use Roy Nelson for target practice. It could resemble the the Werdum fight, only much more brutal.
But both guys are popular draws, and pitting them together would draw eyeballs. That's what it's all about.
I cringe to think about the beating Overeem would likely put on the affable Nelson, but Big Country is as tough as they come, and he's full of surprises. He's proven that his power needs to be respected, and even though he struggles to get fights to the mat, when he does his BJJ is no joke.
Still though, this is one of those very winnable matchups for Overeem that depends on Dana White's mood. The boss holds a grudge on par with the Hatfields and McCoys, but he's also been known to bury the hatchet from time to time.
A hardcore fan's delight here. Two former K-1 champions going head up in the Octagon. What could be better?
Hunt is nursing a knee injury that forced him out of his UFC 146 fight against Stefan Struve, and after recovery and getting back to training, the timing here might be spot on to coincide with Overeem's return.
From a resume perspective, Overeem may seem like he's out of Hunt's league. But Hunt has the crisp kickboxing skills, and an incredible ability to take a punch that could make him one of the better matchups for Overeem.
Hunt has also enamored himself to fans since arriving in the UFC to where this fight could make sense from a business point of view.
I don't know about you, but this is the fight I want to see when Overeem returns.