Despite his desire to make one last run at the heavyweight title, UFC had seen enough of Alistair Overeem over the years to know it was time to say goodbye, which probably had something to do with his astronomical price tag (see it here).
That’s why RIZIN boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara — who previously worked with “Demolition Man” under the PRIDE banner — wants the 40 year-old bruiser to temper his expectations when it comes time to negotiate a potential return to Japan.
“I do have a soft spot for Alistair and if he desires, I think it would make sense for him to retire in Japan,” Sakakibara told Tom Taylor. “We will be kicking this year off with the RIZIN 27 event on March 21st in Nagoya, but we do plan to have around seven events this year, obviously ending it at the Saitama Super Arena on [New Year’s Eve]. Maybe that would be something that could make sense.”
Overeem (47-19, 1 NC) has not competed in Japan for over a decade. He had a starring role in the Todd Duffee snuff film back in Dec. 2010 before returning to Strikeforce, which was subsequently absorbed by UFC. “Demolition Man” made the most of his Octagon debut, melting Brock Lesnar in the main event of UFC 141.
But times have changed, particularly in the overseas market.
“He would obviously need to understand the current Japanese market and his value for all of this to happen though,” Sakakibara continued. “He should do us an old friend’s favor and fight for the amount he made his debut in like old times. All jokes aside, I would have no problem working with him if the numbers make sense for us, and I’m sure there will be many fans who would want to see him end his career in Japan.”
Overeem was recently stopped by Alexander Volkov at UFC Vegas 18 in “Sin City.”