Alistair Overeem is a key part of one of the greatest eras in MMA history. The old days of UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce employed the most legendary big men the game has ever seen. And now, nearly a decade after making his UFC debut, Overeem is still chugging along as a main event fighter and doing everything he can to get one more crack at the belt.
He’ll try for his third win in four fights this Saturday in the main event of UFC Florida against Walt Harris. With 64 professional MMA fights and a career that began in 1999, it’s been a long journey for Overeem. From his recent success to the early days, here are some important things to know about “The Demolition Man” ahead of his bout with Harris.
If you look back on ‘Reem’s resume all the way back to 2003, it’s a list chock full of future UFC champions and legends. Here’s just a few names on the list: Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, Shogun Rua, Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt, Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir, Junior Dos Santos, Andrei Arlovski and Stipe Miocic.
Overeem has even fought the current cream of the crop in the heavyweight rankings. His most recent win came against 10th-ranked Aleksei Oleinik, and a victory over No. 9 Harris on Saturday will surely help Overeem’s case to get closer to the Top 5.
Former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar is one of the biggest stars the sport has ever seen. At the time of his reign he was the biggest. After Lesnar lost his belt to Cain Velasquez he took a year off before returning to face Overeem.
Overeem was amid the best stretch of his career. He was undefeated in his previous 11 fights and finally made the jump to the UFC. His debut opponent would be Lesnar. It was no problem for the former kickboxing champion, as Overeem finished Lesnar inside a round after a series of devastating body kicks.
Overeem won the inaugural Strikeforce heavyweight title in 2007 when he finished Paul Buentello. He defended his belt once before moving to the UFC, but has yet to secure the UFC’s gold strap.
After a four-fight win streak that began in 2014, Overeem finally got his first shot at the title in 2016, but he fell to current champ Stipe Miocic.
Overeem went viral during his most recent fight when he suffered a gruesome lip injury against Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The moment may have been more detrimental than the actual injury, however.
Overeem was on his way to a unanimous decision victory before Rozenstruik landed the massive blow with just several seconds remaining in the fight. Had Overeem hung on, it would’ve been his third consecutive win and he’d be arguably be one or two away from a shot at the title.
In 16 UFC fights, Overeem’s bouts have been decided by a finish 13 times. He’s actually undefeated in his three fights that have gone to a decision. But Overeem loves to swing for the fences and put on a show. And more often than not, it works out in his favor.
It’s exactly why you’ll have to tune in to Overeem vs Harris this Saturday on ESPN and ESPN+.
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