Biggest UFC debut of all time?
That may depend on when you started watching MMA, but you can certainly make a case for several fights, including Alistair Overeem’s UFC 141 destruction of former champion Brock Lesnar who at the time, was one of the biggest stars in all of combat sports.
But was it better than Michael Chandler’s debut victory over Dan Hooker at UFC 257?
“Definitely better than Michael Chandler,” Overeem told MMA Fighting about his debut win over Lesnar. “All respect to Michael and his performance, but I don’t think you can even compare those two fights. Alistair vs. Brock Lesnar in 2011, or Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker. I don’t think you can make a comparison between those two.”
Lesnar had not competed for over a year and was coming off a high-profile loss to Cain Velasquez back in Oct. 2010. He would retire immediately after the Overeem fight, citing health issues, and return to the world of professional wrestling.
“I remember everything very clear,” Overeem continued. “There was a lot of things going on. It was crazy. I came off the [Fabricio] Werdum win and then before that the K-1 Grand Prix win and the DREAM title win. It was a very hectic time. Fans everywhere. I couldn’t walk around Vegas, I just got chased by fans. It was a crazy time. I’m actually happy it’s not as hectic anymore. It’s a little more calm and soothing.”
Unfortunately for Overeem, who fights Alexander Volkov this weekend at UFC Vegas 18 on ESPN+, he was unable to parlay his Lesnar win into bigger and better opportunities. “Demolition Man” dropped three of his next four, including back-to-back knockout losses to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne.
A fate Chandler will be looking to avoid in his sophomore effort.