“I won the fight but I was not satisfied. I didn’t get a KO. I worked hard, and when i look at the fight, I did dominate him. I stuck to the game plan but you have to give credit to Fabricio — he was prepared. He was not going to get suckered into my game, which is the stand up, and he got me out of my game. His takedowns were not successful, but I think he trained hard for this fight, he really wanted to win. I felt his power and he was there to win… I’m not impressed with his striking. He does not hit hard. He was using his strikes to set up his takedowns, but there was no damage. I was annoyed. … When you look at a fight, who’s more dominant? You can see who’s more dominant… That is stalling the fight, or sort of withdrawing from the fight. That basically slowed down the fight and kept anything from happening. … Of course I expected him to pull guard, but I didn’t expect him to do it like 30 times.”

— Alistair Overeem on The MMA Hour talking about his fight with Fabricio Werdum

There’s no doubt that Alistair Overeem didn’t look like “The Demolition Man” that we’ve become accustomed to seeing in recent years this past weekend, but does that really mean he’s as overrated as everyone is making him out to be now? I don’t think so. I think we saw someone who got incredibly frustrated with what his opponent was giving him or more accurately, wasn’t giving him. With Werdum’s constant back flopping and guard pulling, Overeem never got a chance to get into any kind of rhythm on the feet and I can’t blame him for not wanting to play Werdum’s game and jump in his guard. What was he supposed to do?

What the fight did show us however was Overeem’s biggest weakness — his cardio. Big muscles require a lot of oxygen and it was clear by the end of the fight that Overeem’s gas tank was running out. It’s a little concerning because it’s not like Werdum was on top of him, making him carry his body weight for 15 minutes. All Overeem really did was throw some strikes and defend a bunch of weak takedown attempts and he was still winded by the end of the night. If he doesn’t have the conditioning to stay fresh in that type of fight, how is he going to survive 15/25 minutes against strong wrestlers like Josh Barnett and Cain Velasquez who do have the power and technique to put him on his back and smother him for several minutes at a time?

I still think Overeem has the potential and skill set to make it to the top of the heavyweight mountain, but if he doesn’t, his cardio is probably going to be the reason why.

Image via Esther Lin for Strikeforce/Showtime