Alistair Overeem has had great success in the last four years yet he continues to be criticized by many people in the MMA universe. Overeem has not fought the same competition that the UFC has to offer, but he has done things in the years since he left Pride Fighting Championships that make him stand as an elite heavyweight in mixed martial arts.
If he beats Fabricio Werdum next month there will be a long of people saying that they knew he was capable of this and that they knew he could do it. But right now in May 2011 his detractors are large in numbers and they are quite outspoken.
I will present three reasons why Alistair Overeem is an elite heavyweight and why he deserves to be in the top ten in the world.
Alistair used to be a light heavyweight. Now he is a colossal heavyweight. In Japan they took to calling him Ubereem and now many of his fans simply call him the Reem.
Whatever you call him these days, Alistair Overeem is a force in the heavyweight division. After he left Pride in February 2007, Overeem began to refine his striking and to refine his body as well. By 2008 when he debuted in the Dream organization he had morphed his body from a lanky light heavyweight to a heavyweight with bulging muscles and an aura reminiscent of Mike Tyson.
Overeem now looks and acts different than he did in his Pride days. He has so much more speed and strength than he did then that he now exudes such confidence in himself. His relentless tenacity in the ring and in the cage is dwarfed only by his belief in himself.
The fact that he is a now an awesome prescence in MMA makes him a marketable athlete and the performances that the Reem puts together makes him an elite heavyweight mixed martial artist.
10-1, 1 no contest (record after his last fight in Pride in February 2007)
His detractors say that he has not beat an elite mixed martial artist. Either way he has become dominant and although he has not fought the same competition as many of his peers in the UFC he has fought and beaten some good fighters.
He has beaten Mark Hunt, Gary Goodridge, Brett Rogers and Todd Duffee. Alistair was beating Mirko Cro Cop badly before an unfortunate low blow forced the bout to be ruled a no contest.
He has also had great success in 2009 and 2010 in K-1 kickboxing. He has a very good win to loss ratio there as well. His only loss in the last four years in MMA was against Sergei Kharitonov, a man whom he has beaten previously.
Another testament to the dominance of the Demolition Man is that only one of his MMA foes has escaped the first round. Paul Buentello escaped round one only to submit after taking viscious knees to the body in round two.
His dominance cannot be ignored regardless of how good people perceive his opposition to be.
The third and final reason that Alistair Overeem is an elite heavyweight is the unbelievable year he had in 2010. Overeem was already on quite a roll, but last year he took it to a whole other level and he did something that no other man has done.
First of all he finally defended his Strikeforce heavyweight after two and a half years of not doing so. In May of 2010 I sat in the stands of the Scottrade Center and was amazed at how easily Overeem was able to dispatch of Brett Rogers. Alistair tossed Rogers to the mat like a rag doll the only time that Brett was able to get his hands on him. Overeem then got him down and landed something like 14 consecutive punches before the referee waved the fight off.
Overeem then went to Japan and won the most prestigious title in kickboxing. In December 2010 "Ubereem" defeated kickboxing legend Peter Aerts in round one to win the K-1 world grand prix title.
And as if that was not enough for one year, Overeem upped the ante one last time. On New Years Eve 2010, Overeem decimated former UFC fighter Todd Duffee in 19 seconds to win the Dream interim heavyweight championship title.
Overeem had amassed three titles in one year. The fact that he won the K-1 title and holds an MMA world title at the same time is unique. In fact he is the only man to ever do that. 2010 was a monster year for the Demolition Man Alistair Overeem.