Alistair Overeem got back on the winning track this past weekend (Sat., May 16, 2020), knocking out Walt Harris in round two of their main event fight at UFC on ESPN 8 in Jacksonville, Florida (see it again here). The victory was “The Reem’s” third in last four outings, proving that at age 40 the big man has another title run in him.
And it will likely be his last one.
That’s because Overeem says once his current contract with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) expires, he will likely retire. Speaking To ESPN, Overeem explained the reason(s) 25 years of combat sports is enough.
“I see it (the end) coming. My first fight was in 1997, never had a break, always trained. So that is 27 of training, 23 years of fighting. After this contract it will be 25 years of fighting and I think it will be a very nice moment after 25 years to not do that anymore,” he said.
With four fights left on his current UFC deal, Overeem says once he is done he will have completed professional fight No. 96 overall in kickboxing and mixed martial arts (MMA). And while he admits the allure of fighting four more times after that to reach the century mark is appealing, it likely won’t happen.
“It could still be an argument that it will be four more fights, 92 fights, and I will have 96 fights. There is still argument that I could do four more fights to reach 100,” he added. “But I do not think that is not realistic. I think that after 25 years of training, it has been enough.”
Overeem has won world titles in numerous organizations, including K-1, Strikeforce and DREAM. The UFC title, however, has eluded him. Overeem came up short in his first and only bid against Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 back in 2016, though many still stand firm in their belief that Miocic actually tapped early in round one to “The Reem’s” submission attempt.
Nevertheless, “Demolition Man” is primed to get one more title shot before he rides off into the sunset. Ranked No. 8 at the moment, Overeem can expect a nice bump later this week after his latest efforts, which could inch him closer to the Top 5.
Perhaps a fight and subsequent win against this fellow big man is what’s needed to get right behind Francis Ngannou in the championship line.