Renowned GLORY Trainer Cor Hemmers on Former Student Alistair Overeem: “He’ll Give Everything” to Win UFC Title, “Big Chance” Heavyweight Will Become UFC Champ
By Kelsey Mowatt
Alistair Overeem may have lost his opportunity to challenge for the UFC heavyweight title last May, but if everything goes according to plan, the decorated fighter will return to action next month at a time when the promotion is looking for a new number one contender. Although it remains to be seen if Overeem can get past veteran Antonio Silva at UFC 156, and entrench a bout with newly crowned champion Cain Velasquez, the decorated fighter’s former trainer believes a UFC title is likely headed his way.
“How big are the chances that Alistair will become the UFC champion? I think the chances are big,” accomplished kickboxing instructor and longtime GLORY coach Cor Hemmers said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently. “I think his chances are big because Alistair is not uncomfortable on the ground, he’s a great sportsman, he’s an athlete, and he’s ready to train.”
Long before Overeem signed with the UFC and relocated to the rising Blackzilians camp and Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Florida, the Dutch fighter spent considerable time honing his striking skills with GLORY and Hemmers.
“He’ll give everything, and I mean everything he’ll do, to reach that title, to take the title,” Hemmers added. “He has a big chance…I think his striking is still one of the best at this moment if you look at the UFC fighters.”
In what is now well documented history, Overeem was removed from his UFC 146 title fight with dos Santos last May, after testing positive for an elevated testosterone-epitestosterone ratio. Overeem and his representatives blamed the results on a medical treatment he was undergoing for a rib injury, and now the 32 year-old is waiting to see if the Nevada State Athletic Commission will grant him a license for UFC 156.
“The only disadvantage is a little bit that he’s been out for a while,” Hemmers noted about Overeem, who hasn’t fought since December, 2011, when he quickly put away former champion Brock Lesnar at UFC 141. “He didn’t fight for a year and I don’t know when exactly he’s planning on getting back into the ring, but it’s not good for a fighter to be out of the fighting rhythm for such a long time.”
“I don’t know which kind of guys he’s training with now, but of course when he was here with GLORY, he was training only with good strikers,” Hemmers added. “If he has that in the States, I don’t know, but if he has it, that’s okay, his skills will be there.”
While Overeem has captured headlines in recent years for scoring wins over fighters like Lesnar, and winning titles with DREAM and K-1, the fighter’s heated split from GLORY also received plenty of coverage. After each side launched lawsuits following Overeem’s move to Authentic Sports Management and the Blackzilians, the camps announced recently that they have reached a settlement.
“For five years we worked together,” said Hemmers, while reflecting on his time training with Overeem. “That was a great progression for his stand-up skills. He won the K-1 belt, he became the champion over there, and what was my personal feeling when he went away from our team? Of course it was not nice for me. I think it was not so nice for Alistair; we had a good relationship together. There was some problems with the management…and the truth is always somewhere in the middle. Let me say that.”
“For me, after winning the K-1 Grand Prix title, as a trainer, the relationship with me and Alistair was a big opportunity to take the UFC belt as well. At exactly at this moment we got those problems. For me, sport’s wise, it was a sad situation, because of all the champions I’ve made, it would have been great for me as a trainer, at the end of my career, to also have a chance to take the UFC belt….I felt a little bit sad about that out of the sports way of looking at it.”
Overeem is scheduled to fight Silva on February 2nd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.