Roy Nelson suffered the first knockout (KO) loss of his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career after his chin had a meeting with Mark Hunt's right hand at the UFC Fight Night 52 event last September in Saitama, Japan.
However, getting flattened out by "Super Samoan" is nothing to be ashamed of, according to "Big Country's" next foe, Alistair Overeem. As "The Reem" declares, Hunt punches "damn hard" and if he tags you, going to sleep is almost a certainty.
And now that Nelson has shown that he too, can get knocked out, Alistair says he will, as usual, aim to finish the fight via strikes. Perhaps that's easier said than done against one of the most durable heavyweight fighters in the business, who gets back into action at UFC 185 on March 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.
Reem talks to UFC.com:
"Mark Hunt is the strongest heavyweight there is, so that he went out from a punch from Mark doesn't surprise me because Mark punches damn hard. It also underlines the fact that everyone can get knocked out. I know Roy was a heavyweight that had never got knocked out, but it's going to be everybody's turn sometime. If the knockout is there, it's going to be there. I'm a fighter that naturally wants to knock my opponent out. The will is there, but it takes two to tango. You watch tape, you study, you see where the holes are, where the opportunities are at, and sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not."
As a member of Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Overeem has settled into his new digs after having a bad falling out with his old camp, The Blackzilians, down in Florida. Aside from feeling comfortable in the 505, Overeem is upping his MMA IQ on a daily basis.
And if he manages to walks out of "Big D" with a win, he plans on stepping right back into the Octagon for another bout in an effort to get to a title shot as quickly as possible.
"In the beginning, it's always like testing the waters. Now I feel like part of the team. I get along with everybody; it's very relaxed. I bring in my own guys, everybody is getting along and vibing and you go from there. I definitely feel I'm improving, definitely. And for me, I like to stay active. I still have a couple more years to go and I definitely see the UFC title in range, but that means I've got to stay focused and I've got to stay active. That UFC title is the biggest accomplishment and will be the crown of my career, so I've set my goals and sacrifice comes with that. I'm here, I'm ready to go and after this fight, I'll hit the gym again and request to fight again soon."
Overeem got back on the winning track by knocking out Stefan Struve at UFC on FOX 12 last December (video). The win helped stopped the bleeding caused by losing three of his previous four bouts under the UFC banner.
A win over "Big Country" would not only help him string together his first win streak in three years, but also help him -- and fight fans -- forget about his recent struggles and inch him closer to a shot at the UFC title.
An achievement the striking Dutchman say will be the "crown" of his combat sports career.