For the better part of his brief UFC career, Alistair Overeem's name has teetered on the brink of a title shot, but he still hasn't had a chance to capture the gold.
While there are no guarantees that he will secure one this weekend with a win over Travis Browne at UFC Fight Night 26, Overeem is always lurking nearby just waiting for the call to come to offer him the shot.
Whether he's fighting for the belt or not, Overeem always has a constant eye on the heavyweight division, particularly the title fight coming up at UFC 166 in October when Cain Velasquez battles Junior dos Santos for the third time.
The first two fights were split, with both Velasquez and dos Santos getting a win, and the third fight will settle the trilogy with one man walking out of the Octagon UFC heavyweight champion, and the other destined to sit and hopefully find another path to the title somewhere down the road.
Looking at the fight, Overeem says, unlike the first two bouts, which were decidedly one-sided for dos Santos in the first matchup and Velasquez in the second, he sees this third showdown as ultra close as any in the heavyweight division.
If he were a betting man, however, Overeem would have to put his money on the incumbent champion.
"It's a very intriguing fight as both matches were so different from each other. Junior has KO power, which he demonstrated in the first fight, but if Cain can keep the pressure and fight his fight, I don't see Junior winning.
But JDS now knows what Cain can and will do to him, so he will be more prepared this time, and a loss always gives the motivation to come back stronger," Overeem explained when speaking to Bleacher Report. "For me, it's an even fight, but Cain being the champion and having won the last fight, I will put my money on him."
Some might hear the pick and believe that Overeem is picking against dos Santos based on a longstanding grudge he has against dos Santos from the multiple times they were supposed to fight—and they still haven't faced one another.
Since Overeem has been in the UFC, dos Santos hasn't had the kindest things to say about the former K-1 champion, especially after their fights have been scrapped on at least two occasions.
Overeem believes the rivalry with dos Santos has been overstated by the media, and he has no real beef with the former champion. His main concern with dos Santos just comes down to fighting, and he says one day they will get the chance to meet in the Octagon.
"The media made it bigger than it was as they were looking for headlines," Overeem said. "I'm a different fighter now, and this time, I only want to focus on training and winning the next fight. I still believe a fight between JDS and myself is a fight fans want to see, so my gut feeling is telling me that a fight between us will happen in the future."
Overeem's only concern right now is facing Travis Browne at UFC Fight Night 26 on Saturday night. With a win, Overeem will certainly catapult right back into the discussion for a UFC title shot and a potential matchup once again with dos Santos.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!