Former Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem will face the biggest fight of his career later this month when he steps inside the Octagon against Brock Lesnar at UFC 141. With a win, Overeem would become the #1 contender to divisional title-holder Junior dos Santos and position himself to become recognized as one of the t ruly elite fighters in the world.
However, not too long ago, “The Reem” was competing in the light heavyweight division. For the powerful Dutchman the transition to the heavyweight ranks was a long time coming.
“Everyone around me, including friends of mine I have known since we were kids, knew right away it was the right call when I moved to heavyweight full time in 2007,” wrote Overeem, in his blog for Yahoo! Sports. “Some fans and MMA media didn’t understand it, they thought, ‘How is he going to do any better at heavyweight, he will not do as well as at 205 lbs,’ but I make the decision after taking a hard look at myself.”
Overeem has fended off talk of using performance enhancing drugs for much of his career, but he counts eating better and heavy lifting as the reason his body took to the heavyweight division instead.
“I knew putting on enough weight to where I was able to compete with the top heavies would take time. I also know that as soon as I started eating well and had the energy to work out with the weights, I would add mass right away,” Overeem wrote. “But it took time for me to get bigger and grow into a powerful heavyweight.”
He also revealed the division’s relatively shallow pool was appealing, writing, “Plus – and this is something fighters never ever usually admit – the fact is 205 lbs is a division stacked with talent and the heavyweight division doesn’t have that many world class fighters. I am happy to admit that. At 205 lbs., you have a great champion in Jon Jones, and very talented guys like Lyoto Machida, (Quinton Jackson), Ryan Bader, Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson, (Mauricio Rua) – the list goes on and on. Anyone in the Top 15 at light heavyweight is a dangerous fight, while at heavyweight, if I am honest, there’s maybe eight or nine true world class fighters competing at heavyweight.”
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE