Can anybody beat Strikeforce heavyweight champ, Alistair "Demolition Man" Overeem? It might be a while before we find out in this muddled Strikeforce heavyweight division. Now that Fabricio Werdum is opting for surgery the next opponent for Overeem should be Fedor right? Wrong!
Strikeforce has a 800 pound gorilla on their back called M1-Global, who used to have the attitude of "We've got Fedor, these are the terms, take it or leave it". But since Fedor's loss to Werdum, M1 lost a lot of bargaining power. So with one fight left on Fedor's contract with Strikeforce they are being very careful who Fedor fights next.
It's becoming very apparent that M1-Global doesn't want any part of Overeem. Opting instead for a rematch with Werdum or a possible fight with Josh Barnett. In other words, easier opponents.
Overeem couldn't care less. After all, he's fighting for the K1 Championship in December. I had a chance to interview the the "Demolition Man". Hope you enjoy it.
Ben Cord - Alistair, you're the Strikeforce Heavyweight champ and it's unclear when we'll see you defend your belt again.. Fabricio Verdum first wanted a rematch with Fedor and now has decided to have elbow surgery, which will sideline him till early 2011. Is it frustrating not knowing who or when you'll fight?
Alistair Overeem - No not really, as long as I have opportunities to fight then I’m OK with it. Strikeforce gave me the opportunity to fight Antonio Silva but I choose K-1 instead.
Ben Cord - Why did you choose K-1 over fighting Silva?
Alistair Overeem -I have stated many times that one of my goals was to become K-1 champion. K-1 is in our country Holland very popular and it's a big opportunity to become the first person that holds two world titles in two different sports. That is one of my goals, furthermore the K-1 final is always in December and I was automatically qualified for the final 16 because of my third place last year. All those things made me choose K-1 over Silva.
Ben Cord - Do you think Strikeforce is contributing to the problem by seemingly letting the fighters decide who they want to fight next?
Alistair Overeem - No not really, M-1 is the big reason why there is so much drama in the heavyweight division because of their co-promotion rights. They choose who Fedor is going to fight. We all know that M-1 believes their own lies because they still are saying the fans want Werdum vs Fedor. You and I know that the fans want to see Fedor vs me. They change their opinions so many times it's unclear for all parties involved; Strikeforce, Showtime, Antonio Silva, Werdum and Myself etc. If Fedor and M-1 just did the logical thing they would let Fedor fight Antonio Silva in December/ January, then everybody is happy!
Ben Cord - Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva was quoted recently as saying that you're afraid to fight him. Although, Silva is trying to get your attention, he is a legit contender and since nobody else is stepping up,one can argue deserves a title shot. Do you have any interest in fighting Silva?
Alistair Overeem - Which argument can be made for him to deserve a title shot? The only argument can be made if Werdum and Fedor both having injuries. Fedor is ready to fight, he challenged me so he can fight. I was only trying to be logical and therefore Silva needs to fight Fedor. They are number 3 and 4 in the organization. Silva saying I’m afraid to fight him it’s crazy(laughs). If it makes him feel better then I will admit it; I’m afraid to fight Silva (laughs)
Ben Cord - Strikeforce recently signed your brother, Valentijn. Would you fight him if Strikeforce matched you up? Where do you think Valentijn ranks in the Strikeforce HW division right now?
Alistair Overeem - No I'm not going to fight him of course. He's my brother not my teammate. I heard there was a debate about fighting teammates and if a fight should happen because the fans or promoter wants it I will fight a teammate but family is ridiculous. My mother wouldn't even allow it. (laughs). My brother has the potential to become one of the top guys within Strikeforce, he had a very busy personal life therefore he wasn't training as hard as he should but if he's going to pick up his training he will be a danger for every fighter.
Ben Cord -You were on target to potentially be the first guy to beat Fedor. Then Werdum pulls the upset. Has the fight with Fedor lost its appeal to you or has the lack of respect from his manager, Vadim Finkelsteim still fuel that fire?
Alistair Overeem - No, people are making it more difficult than it is. I went to attend the Fedor vs Werdum fight and told publicly in the camera that I would fight the winner. So Werdum won the fight so I’m going to fight Werdum. Now all of sudden Werdum made the comment that he wanted a rematch with Fedor and M-1 wanted to fight Werdum instead of me. I was OK, then I will fight K-1. The whole soap could be avoided when people just stick to logical thinking.
Ben Cord - One person that enjoyed Fedor's defeat was Dana White. White has always claimed that he as the best heavyweight in the world in Brock Lesnar. If the opportunity presents itself how do you think you'd matchup with Lesnar?
Alistair Overeem -That would be a awesome fight. Brock is a big powerful wrestler and I’m more of a stand up fighter. It would be a classical wrestler versus kickboxing fight.
Ben Cord - Do you think you can beat Lesnar?
Alistair Overeem - I think I can beat anybody (laughs)
Ben Cord - You fight out of the legendary Golden Glory gym in Holland that has produced some of the toughest fighters in the world. What makes your gym so successful?
Alistair Overeem - We have a big group of heavyweights that can train together. There are not many heavyweight fighters to come by so having so many sparring partners is a big luxury a lot of other fighters don’t have.
Ben Cord - Take us though an average training day for the Demolition Man. I'm sure your trainers Cor Hemmers and Martijn De Jong never take it easy on you!
Alistair Overeem - It’s very difficult to say because every training is different, you have got your weight training, condition training, sparring training etc. But I can tell you this; on Wednesday we have a big Golden Glory training and it's called “Wednesday Meat training”. It’s not a correct translation but it means that on that day we have some crazy sparring in the gym. That is the day some people are seriously going to get hurt, including myself.
Ben Cord - Are there any young fighters out of Golden Glory that we should look out for in the States?
Alistair Overeem - Most of the people you already know like Marloes Coenen and shooto world champion Siyar Bahadurzada. Siyar is going to have his debut and he’s going to be good, trust me. Then we have Nieky Holzken and Gokhan Saki that are world class strikers that are training on the ground for some time and I hope they will get there break at a M.M.A. show. They will prove that their striking is from another level.
Ben Cord - Alistair, thanks so much for taking time out to do this interview and good luck in December. Do you have any sponsors you'd like to mention or websites you'd like to promote?
Alistair Overeem - I would like to thank all my fans for supporting me. I like to thank Hayabusa, Full Tilt Poker and Hostility for sponsoring my K-1 final 16 fight and check my online documentary on www.alistairovereem.com