Alistair Overeem responds to Dana White's 'crappy' criticism: 'Sometimes you have to play it safe'

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

But insists he is still the same guy who wants to knock people's heads off.

Alistair Overeem got back into the win column this past Saturday night (Feb. 1, 2014) at the UFC 169 pay-per-view (PPV) event, which took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, by dominating Frank Mir for three rounds.

See the lopsided stats here.

In doing so, the not-so hulking heavyweight ended his two-fight losing streak and held onto his job, according to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White. While "The Reem" lived to fight another day inside the world-famous Octagon, White wasn't too pleased with the striking Dutchman's outing, labeling it a downright "crappy" performance (highlights).

Alistair dropped by The MMA Hour two days after his victory to defend his performance and respond to Dana's criticism.

His words:

"Dana's a very upfront character. I like that about him, I like to know where I'm at. He's entitled to his opinion, as we all are. Do i think it's fair? I think it was a very technical performance. It is what it is. I can't make more of it now. I can understand him, he's a promoter, he wants to have exciting fights. Ratings matter, fans matter, fans want exciting fights. That is important. I hope he also understands my position. I mean, of course I'm fighting in a loser leaves town match, so of course, for me, and also since the Travis fight, that has been a factor, a lot of things about my cardio. Sometimes, in life, you don't always get what you want. Of course, I'd rather had punched him out in one minute, but then, I would have gotten, 'Yeah, but he can't last three rounds.' Then maybe I wouldn't have learned my lesson from the Travis fight."

He continues:

"Listen, I'm still that guy that wants to knock people's head off. But it is important to have that switch. Sometimes it's not possible. You can want it as hard as you want, and if I look at my history, my last fight, that was my downfall, going for that knockout. So, it's logical and I hope that viewers back home and everybody watching can understand that."

In addition, Overeem admitted to "playing it safe" -- something he said you have to do at times -- and fought to secure the win. Something that will likely add fuel to White's fire.

Hindsight being 20/20, Overeem also admitted he probably could have ended the fight in round one, but was weary of being drawn in by a faking Mir (it happens).

Nevertheless, one can't fault the former K-1 champion for going in with a cautious game plan, given the fact that he was dominating his previous two fights before getting knocked out. And much like in his losses to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne, Overeem was working Mir from the get go.

This time, however, a much more disciplined Overeem kept himself composed in order to avoid gassing out. Even though he obtained the all-important victory, it seems the mixed martial arts (MMA) community, for the most part, wasn't too thrilled with his dominating performance.

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