Alistair Overeem needed to make a big statement in his fight with Mark Hunt at this past weekend’s UFC 209 pay-per-view as he was coming off a devastating first round KO loss to current UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 last September. Overeem delivered at UFC 209 as he finished Hunt in the third round by strikes. Following the fight, he was asked what’s next for him and who he would like to fight.
Overeem wants to fight former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos, which is a problem due to JDS fighting Miocic at UFC 211 in May in Dallas, Texas. Dos Santos and Overeem have fought before as they threw down back at UFC on FOX 17 in December 2015. Overeem won the fight by second-round TKO.
“I like to test myself,” Overeem told MMAjunkie. “I believe every opponent makes me better. He mentioned my name, and I was open to the idea. ‘Hey, somebody wants to fight me.’ I never back down from (anybody) who wants to fight me. That’s No. 1.”
However, if Miocic holds on to his belt, then Overeem gladly would welcome a fight against surging French heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou.
“And No. 2, of course, Francis is there – if that’s going to happen, that’s great. But I’m also going to be looking for that other fight, the championship fight, ‘JDS’ vs. Stipe. I loved their first fight. It was back and forth, and a very tough fight for both. But if ‘JDS’ would win that one, I could see a rematch there, too – me and ‘JDS.’”
Overeem, who will turn 37 in May, has heard the doubters after his loss to Miocic and before his win over Hunt, so he is glad to shut them down and keep doing what he’s doing, which is knocking folks out.
“People are always writing me off,” he said. “What can I say? Maybe it has to do with the longevity of my career – it’s been 24 years of training and competing. But I just love fighting. I love the UFC, and the UFC is truly the best promotion I’ve ever fought for, and I’ve been doing this for year. They’re doing a great job of promoting us, the sport, worldwide in a proper way. And I’m very happy to be a part of it.”