Alistair Overeem: I want to unify the UFC and Strikeforce heavyweight titles

Hide your kids, hide your wife.

"The Reem" is coming Stateside. 

Alistair Overeem, the deadly Dutch striker and current Strikeforce heavyweight champion will be returning to America for the first time in over a year when he takes on top five ranked heavyweight Fabricio Werdum in the rematch that's been over five years in the making.

The bout will take place at Strikeforce: "Overeem vs. Werdum" in Dallas, Texas next Saturday night (June 18, 2011) and will be the second half of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix's first round.

The K-1 World Grand Prix champion was on the line for a media conference call this week to answer questions about the upcoming fight.

One thing's for certain, Overeem is thinking about nothing other than avenging his 2006 loss to Werdum and he talks about preparing for the huge fight as well as a potential bout with the UFC heavyweight champion after the jump.

 

Alistair trains out of the reputed Golden Glory camp in Holland alongside some of the toughest kickboxers and some of the stingiest jiu-jitsu players in the world. He went into detail about how he prepares for his fights and what he does to keep himself from overdoing it.

"I focused on myself. I sit down with my team. I look at my opponent's strong points and I look at their weak points while we make our training schedule. I have a plan and backup plan and a backup backup plan and we've been doing that for the last four years, becoming more professional at it all the time. To get ready, I focus on myself. Everybody has a growth factor that you have to consider. I try to get myself into good shape, don't get overtrained which is one of the factors that I've had losses in previous fights. I just want to stay in top shape because I'm training is done and maintain where I'm at. Stay happy and stay healthy."

Overeem has plenty of motivation heading into this fight, especially because of what happened the last time around. It was Pride Total Elimination Absolute and "The Reem" was still transitioning to the heavyweight division. He was arguably winning the fight with Werdum when the match went to the ground. Once there, Fabricio locked in a tight Kimura lock and forced a second round submission. You could see the agony of defeat in video form in Alistair's most recent episode of his online documentary "The Reem" season two episode three that was released less than a month ago. He had a typical answer when asked just how motivated he is for this rematch.

"Yes I do (think about the last fight) and no I don't. I have a lot of motivation. I'm just happy. I'm just happy that this fight is happening. I've wanted to fight Fabrecio and this is an excellent opportunity to fight him. You're gonna see next Saturday just how motivated I am."

The Strikeforce heavyweight champion also went into detail about just how this fight will be different than the last time.

"This fight will be different than the last time. You're gonna see a way more aggressive Alistair Overeem. I'll be looking for the knockout from the first second. What else can I say? I'm a different fighter. Fabricio's a different fighter too but I'm definitely a different fighter. Do I consider him having some technique? Of course he's been training and preparing for my weapons in my arsenal and he's confident but I'm confident. It's going to be very interesting to see how it plays out."

When the bracket was originally announced for this Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, there was a bit of an outcry from some fans about how one side was significantly stronger (Overeem, Werdum, Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Silva) compared to the other (Josh Barnett, Brett Rogers, Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov). Overeem doesn't care either way.

"I like the challenges that lie in front of me. It doesn't matter (if my side is tougher). To win, you'll have to face the strongest guys anyways. I'm a fighter. I love to fight. It's what I do for a living. I trained very hard for this fight as I'll do for my next fight. I'm just ready to go. I was ready three weeks ago."

While Overeem last fought on US soil last May at Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery, he realizes that this is a whole different ballpark this time around. He had plenty to say on introducing himself to mainstream sports fans and the United States MMA market.

"I view this Grand Prix as an opportunity to show not only to the US fans but fans around the world that I'm number one. You don't become number one by beating no-names, you have to beat the names. I think this tournament holds very good names, experienced names. I believe every fighter in the tournament is good, experienced and you have to beat the best to become the best ... I see the American market as the future. Japan has some problems and especially now with the disaster happening there. It has moved to the US. The US was already a dominant place for MMA. A lot of things are happening there and I see myself  I definitely want to make an impact in this tournament and with this fight. I definitely see myself fighting more in the States in the future. I'm a fighter so we'll have to wait and see how things turn out."

Overeem closed the call by answering the question that people have been interested in hearing about ever since the UFC's parent company, Zuffa, purchased Strikeforce just a few short months ago. Would he like to fight the UFC heavyweight champion if he can win this tournament?

"My plan is (to unite the UFC and Strikeforce belts) but lets take it one step at a time. I'm taking this fight very serious ... If I would win the tournament, I personally, and I believe many fans would love to see the tournament winner against the UFC champion."

What do you think Maniacs?

Can "The Reem" win this Grand Prix and then challenge for UFC gold or is this all just a dream?

Sound off!

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