In the eyes of many, Alistair Overeem is the No. 1 contender in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
After entering the Octagon as the last Strikeforce heavyweight champion, Overeem defeated Brock Lesnar to cement his claim to a title shot.
However, before he could step inside the cage and meet Junior dos Santos, Overeem failed a pre-fight drug test. He was later denied his fight license, resulting in a suspension that ends in late December.
Around the same time as the suspension comes to a conclusion, dos Santos will battle Cain Velasquez, since the UFC was not able to promote Overeem in proper fashion for the year-end card. So, instead of waiting on the sidelines for the winner of dos Santos-Velasquez, Overeem accepted a February fight with Antonio Silva for UFC 156.
“It’s been a year since I fought, so you’ve got to consider ring rust,” said Overeem, during a recent interview with the Las Vegas Sun, when asked why he took the bout. “You need to have the experience as much as possible. Being out for 18 months would not have been positive.”
Overeem has another reason for agreeing to meet Silva, as “Bigfoot” claimed a possible future fight with “The Reem” as his reason for leaing the Blackzilians after Overeem arrived.
“I believe he left because he wanted to fight me first or something like that,” Overeem said. “Fine by me. I think it was the stupidest thing on his part. I just don’t think it was a clever thing to do.”
Photo credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog