Can Alistair Overeem Make One Last Run?

Can Alistair Overeem Make One Last Run?

By Alex Conway

Alistair Overeem began his MMA career in 1999, just seven years after UFC 1. He’s fought all over the world in kickboxing and MMA (he won the K-1 Grand Prix in 2010) and has fought almost every meaningful heavyweight that’s ever lived.

In addition to winning kickboxing’s biggest prize in 2010, Overeem was also the Strikeforce and Dream heavyweight champion in MMA.

At 40-years old can Overeem make one last run at the UFC heavyweight crown and cap off a historical career that will likely never be duplicated?

The short answer and spoiler to this post is that Overeem kind of already making his next quest for the heavyweight title.

But Overeem is also now fighting his most difficult opponent, Father Time.

At the time of writing, except for maybe Georges St-Pierre, Father Time has defeated nearly every fighter that has dared step into the ring against him. As the sands make their way to the bottom of the hour glass, fighters are convinced that they have the ability that has alluded their contemporaries for years.

They truly believe that they can flip the hour glass and find a second life to their careers. A coaching change here, technique adjustment there, sprinkle a few new diet enhancements and voila, it’s a refresh that should allow for one last title run.

But alas, almost none have the good sense to leave before Father Time shows up and adds few pink blocks to the win/loss column of their Wikipedia page.

Yet here is Overeem, still in the UFC’s top 10, headlining events, on another two-fight win streak after suffering a knockout loss against Jairzinho Rozenstruik that was supposed to signify the beginning of the end of his long career.

In 2013 Overeem took on Ben Rothwell. Overeem was a bruising heavyweight that relied on his power and superb kickboxing technique to bully opponents. He trusted that he was the superior stand-up fighter and that in a gun fight his bullet would land first.

But heading into that Rothwell fight he had gotten knocked out by “Bigfoot” Silva and Travis Browne in fights that he was the heavy betting favourite, and had won a ho-hum decision over Frank Mir that temporarily salvaged him from bust status as a once hyped UFC free agent acquisition that wasn’t living up to expectations.

Overeem attempted to put Rothwell on his highlight but instead got clipped and put down by a strike that seemed to signify that Overeem, at that point a 14-year vet with brutal wars already on his resume, was chinny and on the decline.

But since that Rothwell loss, Overeem has reinvented himself as a fighter who can fight from the outside, pick his shots, not get reckless but still knock-out fighters with precision. He’s also benefited from being one of the few heavyweights with legit finishing power from inside the clinch.

The only fighters that have beaten Overeem since the Rothwell fight are Stipe Miocic (current champ), Francis Ngannou (current number one contender), Curtis Blaydes (current next in line after Ngannou) and Rozenstruik (who Overeem was beating before getting knocked out with four seconds to go).

So here we are again discussing if a 40-year old Overeem has one last run in him.

The only man ahead of Overeem in the rankings that he hasn’t fought yet is Derrick Lewis. That would make for an ultra-interesting fight as Lewis, despite his ungodly power, would be overmatched in technique, and yet Overeem’s chin would surely be tested by any clean shot Lewis could land.

It would likely be a five-round event, so Lewis would have plenty of chances to land a finishing strike on Overeem.

Should Overeem find himself fighting any of the other top contenders he would also be involved in a rematch against someone he’s already lost to (Ngannou, Blaydes and Rozenstruik).

This is the UFC heavyweight division where fighters can last longer than just about any other division. Fighters age better in this division as power is the last thing to go.

I have a hard time imagining Overeem with the gold wrapped around his waist. But he’s more than earned the right to try.

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