Alistair Overeem will take on Travis Browne this Saturday night (Aug. 17, 2013) when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes it FOX Sports 1 network debut live from TD Bank Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. It's a high-profile UFC Fight Night 26: "Sonnen vs. Rua" co-main event slot that has Heavyweight title shot implications on the line, a position "The Reem" was in not too long ago on several different occasions.
However, he lost that opportunity because of a suspension from Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for a positive test for elevated testosterone levels back in March 2012. Then, in his return match against Antonio Silva at UFC 157 earlier this year, Overee, he was knocked unconscious by "Bigfoot" Silva, who would next go on to unsuccessfully challenge division champion Cain Velasquez at UFC 160.
The former Strikeforce Heavyweight champion was supposed to face Junior dos Santos on that same card, but an injury forced him off of the pay-per-view (PPV) attraction. Despite the loss to Silva, and the time off from injuries, Overeem is still ranked No. 5 among UFC heavyweights.
With a drop off after Velasquez and dos Santos -- who will collide for the third time on Oct. 19, 2013, at UFC 166 -- it's not out of the question for the Dutch fighter to finally seize the opportunity that promotion officials seem eager to deliver.
Overeem just needs to turn in an impressive performance this weekend to re-generate the championship buzz. He shared his thoughts with MMAmania.com about what he thinks would be next with a win over the hard-hitting "Hapa" this weekend in Boston on Monday afterrnoon's UFC Fight Night 26 media call (listen to it here).
"For me I've just been really focused on my own development. I was recovering from an injury and getting back on track. I made a lot of changes in the camp, the preparations and the whole process. For me, I've just been focusing on myself and for me just to get that win I put a 100 percent effort into that and my preparation. It's up to the gentlemen of the UFC to decide what they are going to do next."
For what it's worth, Velasquez -- if he can topple "Cigano" in Houston, Texas -- feels that Fabricio Werdum is probably the next contender. That's because "Vai Cavalo" has been victorious in his last three bouts -- two coming by way of finish -- and most recently defeated good friend and fellow Brazilian Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
In fact, looking at his recent contests, his previous 10 match-ups contain a "Who's Who" of would-be contenders in the division. His only two losses during that span came against dos Santos and, of course, Overeem (in Strikeforce).
The decision, and the discussion, is nothing but fantasy until Overeem is able to prove otherwise.