UFC FN 50: Alistair Overeem Plans to Showcase “New Stuff” he’s Picked up From Team Jackson-Winkeljohn
By Kelsey Mowatt
It’s been an interesting couple of years for Alistair Overeem, and although most would say the the powerful heavyweight hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded his UFC arrival, “The Reem” continues to make headlines. This is what happens when you have an extremely public, and at times, bitter split from one of the most famous teams in MMA. Then you transition to another of the world’s most decorated gyms, and are involved in a training incident that leaves the UFC light-heavyweight champ injured.
Overeem is set to fight Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 50, Friday, and although it’s a pivotal match-up for him, talk about the former Strikeforce champ’s training habits has dominated the news instead. Overeem was training with Jackson’s MMA teammate Jon Jones when he injured his knee, and his title defense versus Daniel Cormier was pushed to January 3rd as a result. News of the injury quickly sparked widespread discussion about Overeem, his time with the Blackzilians camp, and kicked off a nasty back-and-forth with Anthony Johnson.
The Dutch veteran has accused the media of making a mountain out of a molehill, and on the latest edition of “UFC Tonight”, Overeem followed up on that narrative.
“It was very innocent. It happened in warmup,” Overeem said on the FOX Sports 1 show, while referring to the fact Jones-Cormier will no longer go down on September 27th at UFC 178. “It was a freak accident. Nothing intentionally happened. I was bummed, too, that the fight isn’t happening.”
While there’s been no shortage of talk and speculation regarding Overeem since he left the Blackzilians for Jackson’s MMA, at the end of the day, what’s most important is the heavyweight’s next bout. Overeem is coming off a decision win over Frank Mir, but before that, he was KO’d in back-to-back fights versus Antonio Silva and Travis Browne. The punishing striker decided he needed to make a change as a result of the defeats, and by the sounds of it, he’s glad he did.
“I’m learning every day. I went in with an open mindset,” the 34 year-old relayed on “UFC Tonight”, while discussing the move to Team Jackson-Winkeljohn. “It was the right choice. Everyone is fantastic. I’m expecting good results from the high altitude training.”
Heading into UFC FN 50, the oddsmakers have Overeem as a considerable favorite to win the bout and extend his Octagon record to 3-2. Anyone who has watched Rothwell compete, however, knows that the massive heavyweight could end Overeem’s title shot aspirations with just one shot.
“Ben’s a big guy, 260 – 265 pounds. He hits hard,” said Overeem, while acknowleding the power of Rothwell. “He’s going to be strong. I have to watch out for the overhand right. He has a good left hook. But the submission game, not so much. I’m ready. There’s a lot of new stuff I’m going to show you.”
UFC FN 50 will be hosted by Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut.