It feels like it's been forever since we've seen Alistair Overeem in the cage, doesn't it?
Watching Overeem fight gives you the feeling that the dude standing across the cage from him might just get killed in the line of duty. That feeling was only cemented when he made his UFC debut last December and promptly sent fellow hulking heavyweight Brock Lesnar scurrying back to World Wrestling Entertainment with the knowledge that he could not compete with the newest threats the heavyweight division had to offer.
But Overeem's been on the sidelines for all of 2012, and it doesn't look likely that he'll return this year. He made some noise recently about being licensed early and potentially facing Junior dos Santos at the year-end UFC card on December 29, but Nevada czar Keith Kizer dashed that dream early and often. And then Dana White announced that dos Santos will face Cain Velasquez, which meant Overeem was out in the cold.
Overeem and his camp have seemingly accepted his fate, with manager Glenn Robinson telling MMAWeekly.com that Overeem plans on fighting whomever the UFC puts in front of him:
“First of all, he would have loved to have had the opportunity to fight for the title, but Alistair is a fighter, and as a fighter he will fight whoever they put in front of him,” Overeem’s manager Glenn Robinson of Authentic Sports Management told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
“He’s going to be ready to fight the second that there’s a fight. He’s not going to need a camp, because he’s never left camp. The day that he’s allowed to be licensed, if they want him to fight the next day, he’ll be ready.”
This is the right call, because, despite his former stature as the top contender for dos Santos, Overeem just doesn't occupy that role anymore.
There's no plausible way the UFC would give him an immediate title shot coming off a long suspension for steroids. It wouldn't be good for business and would set a harmful precedent that opens up the company to all kinds of criticism from media and fans alike.
Overeem has mostly taken the right steps during his suspension, from volunteering for drug testing to firmly cementing himself in the Blackzilian camp in Florida and helping his teammates train for their upcoming fights. Choosing to take a fight outside of the title picture in his first fight back is the right call, and it'll help MMA fans with short memories forget why he was ever gone in the first place.