While many are still singing the praises of Michael Chandler’s UFC debut, Alistair Overeem wants to make sure people aren’t forgetting about his.
Chandler has drawn much acclaim for his first-round knockout of Dan Hooker at UFC 257. Many, including UFC president Dana White, have even gone so far as to call it the greatest UFC debut of all-time. While knocking out a top-ten opponent known for his durability is no doubt an impressive feat, Overeem thinks people may be overlooking what he accomplished in his inaugural appearance.
‘The Demolition Man’ made his UFC debut in 2011 at UFC 141. A high-profile signing who came into the organization with the Strikeforce and DREAM heavyweight titles already on his resume, he was pitted against Brock Lesnar, a former UFC champion who was hoping to rebound from dropping his title to Cain Velasquez in his previous outing. Overeem looked every bit the world-beater he was hyped up to be, as he chopped down the former titleholder with a body-kick midway through the first round.
In an interview with MMA Fighting ahead of his headlining spot on this weekends card, Overeem reminisced on debuting in the UFC nearly a decade ago, and compared his first bout to Chandler’s. While he was sure to give ‘Iron Mike’ his dues, he also remained adamant that his first win was the more impressive of the two.
“Definitely better than Michael Chandler,” Overeem said about his debut win over Lesnar. “All respect to Michael and his performance, but I don’t think you can even compare those two fights.
“Alistair vs. Brock Lesnar in 2011, or Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker. I don’t think you can make a comparison between those two.”
The title of ‘Best Debut’ is entirely subjective, but it is hard to say that anyone could top beating a former world champion. Overeem will look to show the world he still has what it takes to make a championship run when he takes on Alexander Volkov at UFC Fight Night 184. He is coming off back-to-back knockout wins over Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai. He is 4-1 in his last 5, with the one loss coming by way of a hail-Mary punch in the last seconds of a fight he was on his way to winning. He has said that he hopes to make one last run to the championship to end his career, and could perhaps use people overlooking his past performances as motivation.
Who do you think had the better debut: Alistair Overeem or Michael Chandler? Let us know!