Alistair Overeem came into the UFC with more hype than any other heavyweight since Brock Lesnar. Two losses in a row following a shady failed PED test add up to one of the biggest UFC busts in recent memory.
Overeem entered the UFC as an unbeaten Strikeforce heavyweight champion and K1 Grand Prix champion. The UFC had never seen anyone at heavyweight with Overeem’s striking pedigree…on paper anyway. The UFC immediately capitalized on Overeem with a gigantic money match against Brock Lesnar. Overeem came in and manhandled the monster Brock, making one of the strongest UFC debuts in years. It was time to cash in against the champ!
The UFC wasted no time signing Overeem vs. Junior Dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight title. It had potential to go down was one of the biggest heavyweight title fights of all-time. Unfortunately Overeem was popped for PEDs and the fight was scrapped. Life has never been the same for the Demolition Man.
Overeem campaigned hard to jump right back into the title picture when he got off suspension. At one point he even tried to get Dana White to cancel a planned JDS vs. Cain Velasquez fight so he could step in and take Velasquez’s spot. That never happened and it’s unfortunate for everyone because it appears that the UFC will never get the money back for Overeem’s title fight ever again.
Overeem was stunned when he came back and was KO’d by Bigfoot Silva. Sure Bigfoot handled Fedor but Overeem was expected to manhandle the big man. Overeem did just that for most of the fight but then out of nowhere he just ran out of gas. A slimmer Overeem was tired, sluggish, and caught with his hands down. How does something like this happen to the K1 Grand Prix champion?
Anyone can have a bad night and anyone can get caught by a lucky punch (just as GSP). Overeem ironically tested for dangerously low levels of testosterone after the fight. Some chalked it up as low testosterone, some chalked it up to disrespect for Silva, but very few thought that Overeem was done. Guess what? He was done.
Yet again another slimmed down version of Overeem showed up to fight Travis Browne in Boston. Browne is a tough fighter but he certainly is not a world beater. The K1 Grand Prix champion should have disposed of him easily and he almost did. Then yet again whether it was due to fatigue, disrespect, or just plain sloppiness, Overeem was caught and dropped. Just like that the UFC’s blockbuster heavyweight contender fell to the point of no return.
I said that Overeem could come back against Silva. He can’t come back after this loss. Whether deserved or not, there is a big public image problem here that Overeem brought on himself. Going 0-2 and getting KO’s twice after a drastic size difference following his PED failure has turned him into a joke. Overeem is no longer the smasher fans want to see get a shot at the champ. Overeem is perceived right or wrong as the fighter who can’t fight without performance enhancement drugs. There aren’t much worse things you can come back from.
Was I suckered into looking past the obvious changes in physique over the years and believing that a mediocre light heavyweight could suddenly turn into the best heavyweight in MMA? I think I was but so was the UFC and so were a lot of people. I don’t know if I would call Overeem’s UFC run a failure to live up to potential. I’d look at it more as a guy that was exposed for exactly what he is without a little help…an average fighter.