What's the hurry? 'Professional' Alistair Overeem wants to be 100-percent healthy before UFC return

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Because as "The Reem" puts it, when your goal is to win the UFC heavyweight title, you have to be a bit more careful and be able to fire on all cylinders. That's why he is taking a cautious approach before making his comeback following successful elbow surgery.

Too many times, an eager athlete will rush back to their respective sport following an injury, only to make things worse for themselves.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem, doesn't want to be one of those sad tales.

Speaking to Sherdog, "The Reem" says he plans on taking the proper measures before returning to the Octagon, preferring to take a cautions approach for his comeback following successful elbow surgery.

His words:

"The surgery is healing up well. [I had] bone spurs in both elbows and an ulnar nerve entrapment, which was a long surgery -- 11 hours. It's pretty tough, but it was necessary. My arms were bothering me a lot for the last few years. I remember in the Mir fight [thinking] I've really got to get this checked out. After the Mir fight, [my] arms [were] not bothering [me], so you forget about it. But then my nerve got entrapped. That was the end of training right there. Now I'm recovering from that, getting in shape. I can say I'm already in okay shape. I'm just waiting for my hand to heal up a little bit more because the ulnar nerve controls half of your hand and it's not entirely restored there yet."

After suffering back-to-back losses to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne in 2013, Overeem bounced back by defeating Frank Mir at UFC 169 earlier this year (watch it).

It's the lessons he took from his losses to "Bigfoot" and "Hapa" that convinced Overeem that the best option would be to make sure his health is 100 percent before accepting a fight and suffering a potential setback.

He explains:

"I want to get in there as soon as possible. What I want to prevent is to accept a fight and have a setback and then not be optimal because that's one thing I learned in 2013: Losing a fight costs you dearly. I want to be in a high percentage of fitness before I accept a fight because if you accept a fight, there's pressure. And then if you withdraw from a fight because you're not ready, then the whole world is going to be pissed and disappointed. So we need to be a little bit professional and go a little bit slower than I would like to. If it was up to me I'd fight again yesterday."

Can't knock the man for taking a smart approach.

An injury (ribs) is the reason "The Reem" declined a heavyweight showdown against Junior dos Santos, a move that didn't sit too well with UFC President Dana White. But as Alistair proclaimed, when your goal is to win the UFC heavyweight strap, you have to take your time and be careful when dealing with injuries.

His words:

"This ulnar nerve surgery was actually my first [surgery] in 20 years of training, so I have no complaints there. So again, we're going to focus on winning; we're going to focus on the title. For that you need to be a little bit careful."

Overeem estimates he's about 80-percent recovered, and says he also needs to officially set roots at a new gym, which will more than likely be Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Though "Reem" likes what he's seen so far during his first few sessions with the famed camp, much like injuries, the striking Dutchman says you can't rush a new partnership.

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