The main event of this weekend's Strikeforce: "Heavy Artillery" card is a heavyweight match up that fight fans are salivating over.
When Brett Rogers and Alistair Overeem step inside the cage on May 15 in St. Louis, Missouri to compete for the promotion's heavyweight title, two of the best strikers in the division are gonna go toe to toe, likely not for the full five rounds, with only one athlete walking away with the belt around their waist.
As if the battle inside the cage wasn't enough to get fans hyped for the fight, the disdain that each guy has for the other is well documented, and an absolute welcome side story to a contest that what will most assuredly end in a highlight reel knockout.
"The Grim" talked about his fight with Fedor Emelianenko, the lack of respect between himself and Alistair Overeem, and how he sees the title fight playing out. Here's a hint, he doesn't foresee the judges having to do much work.
If there was ever a fight where the loser could come out of the bout with more confidence than he had coming into it, it was Brett's fight against Fedor last fall. Though he was knocked out in the second round, Rogers undoubtedly won the opening frame and looked good doing it. Not many opponents of the Russian heavyweight can say that.
"The first round went great; the wheels were rolling. But in the second round, I just started thinking too much. I was worried about what he was doing instead of what I was doing. I just got caught sleeping, and, well, he caught me. But it's a lesson learned, now I know I just gotta go in the there and whoop ass."
"The Grim" went on to detail what was so different in fighting Fedor.
"He wasn't as aggressive as I thought he was gonna be. Plus, he's the number one guy in the world. I thought he was gonna try to teach me a lesson right away. And holding him when we were grappling, it was like holding dead weight. It was nothing that I've ever felt before. If I moved a certain way, he would move right with me, I couldn't manipulate where he would go. It was strange, it threw me off."
And though he felt like he accomplished some good things in the fight, he admits that the loss stuck with him for a while and says he can't wait to get his rematch.
"It ate me up a little. But Fedor is a veteran of the game and he has won tons of fights. It was just my first loss. I reviewed the tape about 100 times and saw some things I can do better in my next fight. I want a rematch with him bad. On a scale of 1-10, it's about a 20. I'm gonna go in there [against Overeem] and snatch this title, and he'll have no choice but to fight me again."
As for his title fight against Alistair Overeem, Rogers stated that he's coming into the fight with some pent-up anger toward the Dutch striker.
Brett detailed a not-so-pleasant encounter he had with "The Demolition Man" a couple years back.
"We bumped into each other in an elevator a while ago. I knew his name but I don't know his face. Everybody told me he was a real cocky and arrogant dude. And I could see that right away. It was like I was supposed to know him and bow down to him. His demeanor was, ‘I'm the top dog, respect me,' you know? I caught that vibe from him and I never forgot it. And there's been some articles written where he was talking a lot of smack and talking about knocking me out to shut me up. I'm absolutely using that for motivation."
And though the general rule of thumb is that it's better not to fight on emotion, Rogers says it's actually something that helps him.
"I fight better with emotion believe it or not. When I'm in training and I hear negative things, it turns into a great training day. If I go in there with someone who is disrespecting me, they're gonna get the best of me. That's just how it is."
Brett later added that he had the same type of negative feelings toward Andrei Arlovski coming into his bout with the Belarusian heavyweight, but couldn't say the same thing about Fedor.
"Andrei Arlovski is the only other fighter that I've been in the cage with that I disliked as much as Overeem. I don't want to make it appear that I'm disrespecting my opponents. But I'm used to coming in as an underdog, and like Overeem has been, Arlovski was just very disrespectful in the lead up to the fight. He had no respect for me. And if I don't like you, I'm gonna let it be known. I didn't have any of that with Fedor. Fedor is hard to hate. I couldn't push any buttons with him. I couldn't hate him if I tried."
"The Grim" also wants everyone to know that he is well of aware of the fact that Overeem really wants to fight "The Last Emperor" and is likely looking past him.
"I know he just wants to fight Fedor. He only wants to fight him. But we gotta fight first. He's just pushing me to the side like I'm nothing. I notice that, believe me."
So how does Rogers size this fight up? Well, speaking of size, that's the only thing he's giving Overeem an advantage in. Besides that, Brett points to the fact that in this fight, a mixed martial arts contest, Alistair won't be the same fighter he is when he's knocking out people left and right in K-1.
"Well, I give him the size advantage. He definitely worked hard to get there [laughs]. But I don't get intimidated. The thing with him is that, in K-1 he fights real confident, real aggressive. But in MMA, he's way more cautious. His chin is suspect too. Once I put these hands on him, he's gonna be backing up the whole time. He won't want no part of it."
Of course one of the main story lines coming into this bout has been Alistair and his "questionable" body transformation over the last few years. And Rogers isn't making any bones about it. He thinks something is up, and he wants to get to the bottom of it.
"That's the rumor man [Overeem has used performance enhancing drugs]. I hear there's a lot of horse meat in that eastern diet he is on. Look, I'm gonna take a full out steroid test and so will he; we'll see how it goes. Everyone is assuming that there is something going on with him and steroids, so I want to find out. He better know he's gonna get tested, so he best put down the needles and come over here to America to get this ass whooping."
There has been some recent talk that neither fighter will get tested coming into the match up, which is absurd and a story for another day.
But either way, Brett says it won't make a difference. As to Overeem's claims that he's putting Rogers to sleep early in the fight, well let's just say he has a different opinion on how the bout is ending.
"Please. There's no way. It's all talk from him. I'm gonna put him to the test. I'm gonna come right at him. Wherever I see him I'm coming right at him. I ain't gonna flinch. I'm knocking him out in the first two minutes of this fight."