Alistair Overeem entered the UFC with quite a bit of hype surrounding him. The UFC did its part by trying to put "The Reem" into a title shot as best it could. Unfortunately for the company and Overeem, a failed drug test and two straight KO losses seemed to have permanently put those plans on hold.
Overeem entered the Octagon on a good note by defeating former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar, so the UFC instantly set him up to face then-champion Junior dos Santos. MMA fans practically needed a bib to clean up the drool that was forming from a potential JDS-Overeem fight.
It would not come to fruition, however, as Overeem failed a pre-fight drug test for elevated testosterone levels.
Overeem was slapped with a suspension and drew the ire of UFC president Dana White. All would not be lost for Overeem and the UFC, as The Reem had still yet to taste defeat inside the Octagon. Facing Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva seemed like a matchup made to propel Overeem back into title contention.
And for the better part of two rounds, Overeem was well on his way to doing just that. Then the third round came. Silva launched an offensive flurry that Overeem had no answer for, and after a vicious KO blow, Overeem's aura of invincibility was lost.
Fighting Travis Browne gave Overeem yet another chance at a favorable matchup at UFC Fight Night 26. Browne is a dynamic fighter who was likely to keep the fight standing. He did just that, but instead of capitalizing by using his superior striking, Overeem fell into the same traps he always does.
Overeem battered Browne's ribs from the clinch in the early going to the point where I seriously thought Browne would have broken ribs. The flurry of punches Overeem launched at a turtled-up Browne seemed to be the beginning of the end.
Browne somehow survived, though, and came back to drop Overeem with a front kick. As Joe Rogan pointed out during the fight, Overeem was simply plodding forward, abandoning his footwork and foregoing any sort of defense.
As B/R's own Jack Slack pointed out prior to UFC Fight Night 26, Overeem is a man who should rule the heavyweight division but can't, due to always falling into the same pitfalls. Once again The Reem got overconfident and paid the ultimate price for it.
Now, the UFC has an expensive heavyweight who still has a big name but is also on a two-fight losing streak. Not only has he lost two fights, but they were also by knockout.
Where do the UFC and Overeem go from here? Is Overeem's run in the UFC officially over?
Although White and plenty of fans are no doubt disappointed in Overeem's fall from grace, his UFC tenure is hardly over. Yes, the big man has lost back-to-back fights, but he still remains an attraction in the heavyweight division. Any number of fighters would've crumpled against Overeem's offense last night, but Browne was able to miraculously survive.
There are still matchups for both Overeem and the UFC to take advantage of. The high-profile matchups of Overeem vs. the top level guys are done for now, but if he can manage to put together an impressive win or two, there's no doubt the UFC would push him back into contention.
The UFC and perhaps Overeem himself would likely be better suited for a lower-profile matchup in his next Octagon appearance. I'm not saying Overeem can't handle the spotlight, but it would be one less thing for him to worry about in his next fight.
Also, fighting a less talented fighter would give The Reem the opportunity to look impressive.
It will be a long road back to the mountaintop, but Overeem has the credentials and talent to do it. However, the UFC will have to give him the opportunity to prove it once more.