Currently ranked at No. 7 in the UFC heavyweight Top 15, former Strikeforce and DREAM champ Alistair Overeem recently got back into the win column with a one-sided decision win over Frank Mir at UFC 169.
Despite UFC president Dana White calling it ‘not a good night for Alistair Overeem,’ he did outstrike Mir 139-5. More importantly, he picked up a win in the Octagon after getting brutally knocked out in his previous two losses to Travis Browne and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
The consensus was that Overeem was lined up to get another big name fight, and White confirmed that this was indeed true. However, “The Reem” apparently took it upon himself to turn down a huge opportunity. Ariel Helwani had the scoop on tonight’s “UFC Tonight”:
“Dana White actually spoke to Alistair just a couple days after his last win over Frank Mir. And he told me this; he said he offered Alistair Overeem a five round main event fight in Brazil against Junior dos Santos. He told me Alistair Overeem turned it down. He then offered him a three round co-main fight in Las Vegas and Overeem also turned it down.
Now, I reached out to Overeem, who’s on vacation in Jamaica, and he did not respond, and Dana White gave me another quote that he wanted me to share on the air about Alistair. He said, quote, ‘He wants nothing to do with dos Santos. He’s literally hiding from him.’ He said he also had no problem calling out a guy who is in WWE now and hasn’t fought in two years; that of course, is Brock Lesnar.”
Overeem did strangely call out Lesnar after defeating Mir because the former champ was rumored to be returning to the UFC fully healthy after dealing with diverticulitis throughout much of his Octagon stint. But even if Lesnar were to return, he’d be miles away from the Top 10, and those are the kind of opponents Overeem should be concentrating on defeating right now.
He had a scheduled title bout against dos Santos at UFC 146 in May 2012, but was forced to withdraw and suspended after he famously failed a pre-fight drug screen for elevated testosterone. “The Reem” was then booked against “Cigano” once again at last May’s UFC 160, but withdrew due to injury.
It’s looking more and more like there is some truth to White’s insinuation that Overeem is ducking dos Santos. After all, a five round affair against dos Santos in Brazil is one of the biggest heavyweight bouts he could hope to get; yet he turned it down.
Is Overeem just planning his next move? Or is he looking to avoid a bout with “Cigano” at all costs?
Photo: Gary A. Vasquez for USA TODAY Sports