It has been a tough year for Alistair Overeem. The last time he was in the octagon was in December of 2011 where he beat Brock Lesnar. That win had Overeem all lined up to fight Junior Dos Santos in one of the more anticipated heavyweight fights in the UFC. However, that all came crashing down as “The Reem” tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, leading to his suspension. Now Overeem is trying to rebuild his resume and his image and get a shot at the heavyweight title. Before any of that happens, Overeem needs to get his fight license back, he needs to stay away from PED’s and he has to get past Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, who he is scheduled to fight at UFC 156 in February. Alistair Overeem joined ESPN 1100 in Las Veags with Steve Cofield to talk about being out the last eight months because of PED’s, whether his relationship has been fractured with Dana White, what it has been like training in Miami now as opposed to Holland and what he thinks of his upcoming fight against “Bigfoot” Silva.
How tough it has been to be out the last eight months because of PED’s:
“It has not been a nice experience I can tell you that but again I’m a guy who looks forward, focuses on what I need to do and I have been doing that for the last eight months. Only focusing forward, I’ve been training hard, I’m building up my social network here in Miami, you’ve got to get to know people, move around and in the meantime building my team, arranging a sparring partner, and like I said focusing on the future. It’s always on coming back and if I look at my career, it’s a long one, I’ve been training for 18 years, fighting for 16 and my career has always been ups and downs, if I’m honest. It’s been going good and then it’s been going bad. Then it went well and then it went bad. It’s always ups and downs. I see the last year that it went wrong and I’ve been working hard as I always have done to make it right. I expect 2013 to be a great year because I’ve worked hard in the last eight months so I’m looking forward to the comeback.”
Whether his relationship is strained with Dana White:
“I never really dealt with Dana. Just hello and goodbye, we never really spoke really. Of course there’s a respect from my side and his side, a mutual respect but when this happened, the show has to go on. The show didn’t go on and I took responsibility for it but we didn’t speak. I was in Vegas, I was in a meeting at the UFC headquarters and I actually took the time to wait for him to finish with his business. I stepped into his office and took responsibility and I said it was my fault. I think for him hearing that directly out of my mouth and by looking each other in the eyes that was good, good for the relationship. That’s what I would like to hear if my employees messed up, I would like to hear directly from them. I just told him that I messed up, the show has to go on, it didn’t, I take responsibility, these are the steps that I’ve taken, these are the steps I’m going to take and he appreciated that. Immediately after I noticed a difference in his tone so I think that was the right thing to do.”
How much it has helped moving his training to Miami:
“I brought several Dutch friends with me, some of my friends that came with me and other than that the training is excellent. My whole experience, the coach, head coach, he’s got a lot of experience and a lot of mileage and after that I believe we have eight black belt Jiu-jitsu trainers and fighters who really have the heart on the right spot for the team. Back in Holland we didn’t have black belts, we had a purple belt who was teaching. We didn’t have an octagon, we had a ring where if you made a takedown and the guy steps aside you would fly through the ropes right into the wall. Facility-wise, training partner-wise, sparring partner-wise and teacher-wise this definitely is the right spot for me. I definitely have already had many improvements to my game and I’ve been training hard and waiting to show the fans all my new little tricks which I’ve learned in the last eight months.”
What he makes of his next opponent, “Bigfoot” Silva:
“Good top game, he’s big, he hits hard, that’s true. What can I say? (Host: That said you think he will be a pretty easy target for you to hit?) That too. Pretty hard to not miss right? It’s going to be a fight. He’s going to be trained, I’m going to be trained and I’m very much looking forward to fighting Bigfoot and hear he’s very excited to fight me. It’s going to be a great fight and I’m going to treat it just like all the other 69 fights I had under my belt. Looking forward to it all.