Like fellow heavyweight contender Frank Mir, Alistair Overeem needs a win in a big way.
But unlike his Jackson-Winkeljohn teammate, Overeem doesn't feel like his upcoming bout against Stefan Struve -- which goes down this weekend (Sat. Dec. 13, 2014) at UFC on FOX 13 -- is necessarily do-or-die.
Though he knows he needs to go out there and perform his best to get the all-important victory, "The Reem" doesn't have that "back against the wall feeling" just yet, despite losing three of his last four contests inside the Octagon.
His words to Sherdog:
"I don't have the back-to-the-wall feeling. As an athlete you can lose; you shouldn't only lose, but I'm not only gonna lose. Why I can I say that is because I know what I'm doing with my sparring partners: I'm seriously pressuring all of them, hurting all of them. I know that the body is there, the mindset is there -- I'm putting the effort in. I don't really feel like my back is to the wall. But what I do really feel is that you do have to perform. You do have to get out there and do it."
It's no secret that Overeem hasn't lived up to expectations since making his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut back in 2011, as he's gone a sub-par 2-3 with his two victories coming at the expense of the aforementioned Mir and WWE superstar, Brock Lesnar.
And after getting knocked out by Ben Rothwell in his last outing at UFC Fight Night 50 earlier this year (video), many believed his time inside the eight-walled cage was nearing its end.
Fortunately for the striking Dutchman, Dana White gave him another opportunity to right his ship. After all, he is still a top 10 fighter.
Nevertheless, Overeem is confident he has plenty of years ahead of him inside the Octagon, and says he expects "beautiful things" to happen for the remainder of his UFC tenure. Struve, I'm sure, would like to make it a bit uglier when the two towering heavyweights collide in Phoenix, Arizona.
For more on the upcoming UFC on FOX 13 event, click here.