Survey a group of knowledgeable MMA fans about the prospect of Fedor Emelianenko squaring off with Alistair Overeem in a Strikeforce cage and nearly every one will tell you it’s a match-up they would love to see take place. Survey the lot of people in Emelianenko’s camp and you’d probably get a different story – at least until recently.
The iconic Russian heavyweight recently broke from past form in a statement through M-1 Global, tossing aside his desire for an immediate rematch with Fabricio Werdum and instead mentioning interest in facing Overeem before the end of the year.
However, as they saying goes, “it takes two to tango,” and Emelianenko’s requested dance-partner is not only unavailable until 2011, he’s simply not interested in fighting “The Last Emperor” after watching Werdum submit him in the first round this past June.
Overeem spoke to MMAFighting about Emelianenko’s recent challenge through the media where he said he’d prefer to maintain order in Strikeforce’s heavyweight division by instead fighting Werdum and has already committed to a K-1 tournament possessing the potential of keeping him busy until December.
“I’ve stated many times that Strikeforce was my number one priority, but after Fedor lost to Werdum, I had no intention of fighting somebody other than Werdum. I came to the States to challenge the winner of the fight and that was Werdum, so no need to fight somebody else,” the Dutch striker explained. “Furthermore, I like K-1 very much and there are not many opportunities to stay fighting in K-1, so I want to fight if I still can. One of my goals is to be K-1 champion and this is my chance.”
Overeem continued, “You can debate if I’m the number one in Strikeforce using results of the past, but the fact remains that Fedor signed with Strikeforce and chose Werdum instead of me. We all know that in every organization Fedor is more than welcome to fight straight for the belt due to his stature and experience, but if his management decided that they would like a tune-up fight and then Werdum before fighting me they are taking a risk. Fighting in a organization is just the same as climbing a ladder. If you lose, you will fall a couple of steps down and if you win you go up. It’s not fair to other fighters that are climbing the same ladder. So to make a long story short, I’m the champion, which means I’m number one, not based on ranking but because I’m wearing the belt.
Number two is clearly Werdum because of his win over Fedor and Antonio Silva. Fedor losing means he’s number three and Antonio Silva, who came back from a loss against Werdum by defeating (Andrei) Arlovski is clearly the number four. So in that case, Fedor should fight Silva and the winner of that fight should fight against the winner of a bout between myself and Werdum. It’s just that simple — it’s not rocket science.”
Fortunately, though he has ruled the fight out for 2010, he is still open to the idea of stepping into the ring against Emelianenko at some point in the future. When asked whether or not he believed the fight would ever happen, Overeem responded, “If Fedor stays in Strikeforce and beats Antonio Silva and I win my fight against Werdum, then there is a big possibility that I will face him. So I still think I will meet him in the cage eventually.”
Overeem is 33-11 as a professional Mixed Martial Artist and has won his last eight bouts. He holds notable victories in his career over Mark Hunt, Sergei Kharitonov, Vitor Belfort, and most recently beat Brett Rogers via TKO in the first round of their fight at “Strikeforce – Heavy Artillery” last May.