Alistair Overeem made a statement in his UFC debut, earning a first round TKO victory over former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar in December 2011. The win made Overeem an automatic title contender and sent Lesnar into retirement.
Overeem’s title shot hopes were dashed when he failed an out-of-competition drug test. The failed drug test put Overeem on the shelf for nine months.
When he returned he was confident, some would say too confident, that he would walk through his opponent Antonio Silva and reclaim his lost title shot.
Silva had other plans, and he was successful in turning those plans into reality, knocking out Overeem early in the third round of that February 2013 fight.
Overeem (36-12-0-1) will make his return to the Octagon on August 17, facing Travis Browne (13-1-1) in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 26.
On Monday, Overeem participated in the media call for the event. Speaking about the Silva fight, and if the knockout loss meant anything more to him than just a number in the loss column, Overeem said, “I took some time off, to think about everything, but I'm not a person that gets depressed. I just think of what's next.”
Some would say that Overeem will be under additional pressure when he faces Browne. After all, he went from retiring a former champion to being knocked out by an opponent that he was a -315 favorite to defeat. Overeem isn’t looking at things that way.
“I’m not really thinking about all that stuff. I just focus on my own thing, which is getting back on track, getting the workouts in, and assembling a new team," he said. "I don't really focus on what other people think or what's going to happen after this fight or the fight after. It's up to the gentlemen of the UFC to decide what they're going to do next.”
Overeem’s tone was missing a bit of the swagger he had in the lead up to the Silva fight. There were no boasts from Overeem, no dismissive comments toward his opponent. It was as if Silva, in sending Overeem crashing to the mat, did him a favor. The loss may have been a wake up call of sorts for the former Strikeforce champion.
“I've just been really focused on my own development. I made a lot of changes in the camp, in the preparation, in the whole process. So, I've just been focused on myself and for me it's just important to get that win. I put 100 percent effort into that, into my preparation.”
Focus and preparation were two things that were clearly lacking when Overeem faced Silva. We’ll find out on August 17 if including those two important items in his current camp will yield a more positive outcome.
*All quotes obtained first hand by Bleacher Report.