Alistair Overeem was staring down the barrel of his second UFC heavyweight title shot, but risked it all by fighting fast-rising star Francis Ngannou at UFC 218 in early December. Ngannou put his mark on the division, while simultaneously derailing Overeem from achieving the one major title that has eluded him.
Ngannou knocked Overeem out inside the first two minutes of the first round, drawing comparisons to the brutal knockout power of a young Mike Tyson in boxing.
It may have seemed there was a cliched changing of the guard took place that night, but Overeem, 37, isn’t ready to give up on his championship dreams.
After several false starts, he finally got a shot at the UFC title when he faced current champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 in September of 2016. The two fought to a Fight of the Night performance, but Miocic scored a knockout victory, keeping the belt around his waist.
Overeem rebounded with back-to-back victories over Fabricio Werdum and Mark Hunt, but they are both from the same era, so when Overeem lost to Ngannou, the cage door appeared to be quickly closing on his championship aspirations. Not so says “The Rheem.”
“Unfortunately it isn’t my face on the UFC 220 poster, but still, as a fight fan, I can say it’s going to be a good scrap,” Overeem tweeted on Thursday.
“I don’t really have a favorite, so may the best man win, and for all the people that are telling that I should retire, sorry guys, I’m already in the gym!”
It’s unclear when Overeem (43-16, 1NC) might fight again, who has gone 6-2 in his eight most recent fights in the Octagon, and still occupies the No. 2 slot in the UFC heavyweight rankings.
Unfortunately it isn’t my face on the UFC 220 poster but still as a fight fan I can say it’s going to be a good scrap. I don’t really have a favorite so may the best man win and for all the people that are telling that I should retire. Sorry guys I’m already in the gym! pic.twitter.com/Os3ODKhVlN
— Alistair Overeem (@Alistairovereem) December 21, 2017