Alistair Overeem isn’t done competing.
“I wasn’t built for a nine-to-five job,” says a smiling Overeem, whose athletic physique remains as timeless as his looks. “And I’m not done yet.”
Now 42, the future UFC Hall of Famer is stepping outside the Octagon and returning to kickboxing for the first time in more than a decade. Overeem is set to headline Glory: Collision 4 in the Netherlands this October, facing Badr Hari in a trilogy bout.
The first meeting between the two fighting icons took place in 2008 when a left hook from Overeem knocked out Hari. The rematch was the following year, a TKO win for Harry. Nearly a decade and a half later, the two heavyweights will seek closure this fall.
“I’m from the Netherlands, so it’s like a home game for me,” Overeem said. “It’s my destiny to return to kickboxing and Glory.”
Overeem last fought for the UFC in February 2021, a TKO loss to Alexander Volkov. He was released the following month, but still plans to end his career on his terms.
“I wasn’t ready to quit fighting when I was done with the UFC,” Overeem says. “I learned so much from my time in MMA and I will incorporate that into my kickboxing. I’m really motivated to come back.”
Overeem (47-19, 1 NC), who is just three wins away from his 50th victory, still has many goals in his career before he retires from active competition.
“I look at it a little bit differently,” Overeem says. “I had a total of 93 fights in my career. There was some thought to get to 100. But that’s just a number, right? We’ll see how that goes.”
Originally slated to return to Glory last October until an injury forced him out, Overeem is healthy and has been keeping active in training. He’s even on the verge of starting a new career in pro wrestling, an industry he’s been heavily criticized for in the past.
Overeem was scheduled to headline the inaugural Wrestling Entertainment Series show this Saturday in England, where he was slated to become the new promotion’s first champion. Sports Illustrated I learned. But that show was canceled, which is the third time WES has promised a show and then failed to deliver. Despite this disappointment, Overeem remains open to a future in professional wrestling.
“I’ve been critical of pro wrestling in the past, but I was also a big fan for a long time when I was young,” Overeem says. “It’s something I’ve been thinking about for the last year and a half. I’m not sure that’s my next step. I really enjoy teaching, but pro wrestling is something I’m considering. And I know the other kickboxers will hate that I fight. So I like that.”
While professional wrestling may re-emerge as a future possibility, there’s no doubting his immediate future in Glory.
“It’s a big match for Glory and a big fight for me,” Overeem says. “That’s what I signed up for. I can not wait.”
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Relatively quietly, Bellator has acquired a number of high-level lightweights.
That shouldn’t be the case for much longer, as this group – starting later this month at Bellator 283 – will start to make some significant noise.
The additions include Archie Colgan, Tofik Musaev, Max Roskopf and Mansour Barnaoui. Both Kolgan and Musaev compete at 283, with Kolgan (4-0) in the preliminary round. He was supposed to fight Justin Montalvo, but his new opponent will be announced soon.
Musayev (18-4) finds himself with a golden opportunity at 283, getting a shot at top-ranked lightweight Sidney Outlaw. Patricky Pitbull was originally scheduled to defend his lightweight title against Outlaw, as was Musaev against Adam Piccolotti, but both Pitbull and Piccolotti pulled out. That creates an opportunity for the unranked Musayev to challenge Outlaw—and potentially completely change the Bellator lightweight rankings.
Rohskopf and Barnaoui are also important additions for Bellator. A prized amateur wrestler in the state of North Carolina, Rohskopf (7-1) has the ability to be a submission specialist in Bellator. And Barnawi (19-4), former champions Road FC, has an outrageously high 95 percent score.
MMA Junkie’s report on PFL 6 payouts is fascinating.
Despite losing by submission, Anthony Pettis received the top prize of $750,000. His loss to Stevie Ray doesn’t hurt him as Pettis has already qualified for the playoffs this season. Kayla Harrison is second on the list with $500,000, followed by Rory McDonald with $250,000. Among those who have also earned six-figure salaries are Jeremy Stevens, Magomed Magomedkerimov, Brendan Loughnen, Lance Palmer and Omari Akhmedov.
The upside is that fighters make great money. The PFL was probably excited to publish these numbers and no doubt got people’s attention. The downside is overspending, although that’s a necessity for any promotion not named the UFC to attract high-quality fighters.
Watching the return on investment will be interesting as the promotion continues to grow.
Rafael Fiziev headlines Saturday’s UFC on ESPN card, looking for the biggest win of his career against former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.
A 29-year-old fighter from Kazakhstan, Fiziev (11-1) has won his last five. Currently ranked tenth in the division, a win against seventh-ranked dos Anjos would push him closer to the top five.
“It’s a dream fight,” says Fiziev. “It’s a big challenge for me, but the win makes me that much closer to the title.”
Fiziev had some fun on social media earlier this week, responding to Conor McGregor on Twitter after McGregor shared some over-the-top advice about ax kicks.
“It’s not the first time Conor has talked about my fights,” says Fiziev. “So since I have his attention, I invite him to my gym, Tiger Muay Thai. If he comes, he can show me what he would do in all situations with defensive shots.”
A fight against McGregor is within the realm of possibility if Fiziev beats dos Anjos. It’s a fight that will help determine the second half of the top 10 in the lightweight rankings, as well as answer who is the best Rafael in the UFC.
“I’m ready for five rounds,” Fiziev said. “I’m going to show why I’m the best Rafael in the UFC.”
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