In one of the biggest matchups of the night, Alistair Overeem defeated former heavyweight champion Frank Mir via unanimous decision during the UFC 169 pay-per-view at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Saturday.
Overeem didn't waste much time letting the UFC know who he might like to fight next, either. Per Ariel Helwani:
Overeem: I hear there's word that Brock Lesnar is about to come back to the UFC, well, I'll be here waiting for him.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 2, 2014
It didn't look like the bout was going to make it much past the opening minutes. "The Reem" opened the first frame with some of the world-class striking that has made him one of the sport's most recognizable heavyweights. He rocked Mir with a big knee from the clinch.
However, he wasn't able to finish the job, and his infamous cardio was once again tested as the fight wore on.
Whereas Overeem has struggled with gassing and defense in the past, he was able to conserve his energy and deliver a prolonged beating over the next two rounds. Mir threatened with a guillotine attempt in the second round but quickly let go of it.
This was a huge win for Overeem’s ascension in the heavyweight division.
Before his win over Mir, Overeem was knocked out in his two previous fights against Antonio Silva and Travis Browne. The kickboxing legend looked strong at points in both fights, but it was clear that his conditioning was not where it needed to be.
Losing back-to-back bouts in devastating fashion is not want the UFC wanted from one of the company’s biggest acquisitions, and the fight with Mir was exactly what he needed to get his confidence back and return to his winning ways.
The UFC is better when a big name like Overeem is succeeding, and the hope is that he can continue carrying this momentum through a few more wins and into a possible shot at the title down the line.
As great as the win was for Overeem, it was equally as devastating to Mir’s career.
This makes four straight losses for Mir—he suffered defeats at the hands of Junior dos Santos, Daniel Cormier, Josh Barnett and now Overeem—and there are serious questions about how much he has left to give the sport.
Should Frank Mir retire after this loss?
Despite all of his contributions, it’s time for him to walk away.
While Mir ponders retirement, it’s time for Overeem to prove himself against a serious star in the heavyweight division.
Overeem needs at least two more victories before entering title consideration, and a starter match against guys like Josh Barnett, Antonio Silva or Stipe Miocic would be the way to prove he deserves a chance to be taken seriously again.