Alistair Overeem Focused on “Getting Back on Track” at UFC Fight Night 26
Heavyweight Made Changes to Camp After Upset Loss
By Kelsey Mowatt
Just over two years ago, Alistair Overeem was coming off what would be his final Strikeforce fight, as the promotion’s champ worked his way to a unanimous decision win over Fabricio Werdum. Not long after, Overeem went on to sign with the UFC and destroy former champ Brock Lesnar at UFC 141 that December. The feared striker’s participation in a UFC title fight seemed inevitable.
Of course, in what is now well documented history, injuries and licensing issues kept Overeem on the sidelines throughout 2012. Despite the lengthy layoff, few people gave “Bigfoot” Silva much of a chance to defeat the former Strikeforce champ at UFC 156 in February. Silva went on to prove his doubters wrong in violent fashion, however, by coming back from behind to knock Overeem out in round three. As a result, Overeem’s title shot run has taken a significant detour, and the 33 year-old star has been booked to fight rising heavyweight Travis Browne at UFC Fight Night 26.
“I don’t know; I’m not really thinking about all that stuff,” Overeem said on a recent media call, when asked if he feels like he has something to prove on August 17th. “I’m just focused on my own thing which is getting back on track, getting the workouts in, assembling a new team, getting a new coach, Mike (Passenier) from Mike’s Gym in Holland, and all their famous striking coaches.”
The loss to Silva marked the first time Overeem had been defeated since 2007, when he was knocked out by Sergei Kharitnov at a K-1 Hero’s event. The Dutch fighter went undefeated in his next 12 bouts, and laid claim to both Strikeforce’s and DREAM’s heavyweight belts.
“I’ve just been focused on my thing,” added Overeem. “I’m not really focused on what other people think, or what’s going to happen after this fight. I’m just focused on one thing and getting back on track.”
“For me, I’m just really focused on my own development,” Overeem noted during the call, while discussing what’s at stake this Saturday. “I was recovering from an injury, getting back on track, and I made a lot of changes in the camp and the preparation, the whole process. So, I’ve been just focused on myself and for me it’s just important to get that win. I put 100% of my effort into that, into my preparation, and it’s up to the gentleman of the UFC what they’re going to do next.”
Overeem has been relocated to Florida for some time now and has been training out of the renowned Jaco Hybrid Training Center, which is home to the renowned Blackzilians’ team. As Overeem interestingly noted, however, he’s enlisted the guidance of Passenier, who has helped developed the striking games of all-star kickboxers like Daniel Ghita and Badr Hari.
“My head coach is Mike from Mike’s Gym in Holland, so obviously I’ll be back-and-forth to Holland whenever I have a fight for training,” said Overeem, who been training separately from the Blackzilians occasionally as a result. “He also comes to Miami as he’s here now.”
UFC Fight Night 26 will be hosted by Boston’s TD Garden Arena and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1.