Former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem has signed a new contract with the UFC, setting the table for a possible title fight with current champion Fabricio Werdum.
The Dutchman took to Twitter to announce the news:
Alistair Overeem @Alistairovereem
Just signed my new @ufc contract! :) https://t.co/lUQZO0ptLJ2016-2-15 15:56:38
He knocked out Junior dos Santos in December of last year to take his record to 40-14, winning the majority of his fights inside the distance.
Overeem joined UFC in 2011 and announced his arrival with a win over former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, which set up a title fight with Dos Santos. But his title shot vanished as quickly as it came, as he failed a pre-fight drug test in April 2012, per ESPN.com's Franklin McNeil.
Overeem returned to the Octagon in 2013, but back-to-back losses against Antonio Silva and Travis Browne set his career back even more. He has been steadily working his way up the rankings ever since, losing just one fight since 2014, per ESPN.com.
The former kickboxer is the last man to have beaten current heavyweight king Werdum, winning a decision in 2011, when the two were still with Strikeforce. While he's unlikely to face the Brazilian in the coming months, one more big win could put him in line for a shot at the title.
Fight News Australia's Emma Challands wasn't shocked to hear the Dutchman signed a new deal with UFC:
Emma Challands @echallands
I'm not surprised that Alistair Overeem has re-signed with the UFC. He's one of the more exciting HW's and a genuine title contender.2016-2-15 09:21:51
A rematch with Browne could be a possible headliner for the upcoming UFC Fight Night Rotterdam event on May 8, and if the veteran can avenge the disappointing loss, it could set up a title shot in the near future.