Former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem is looking at a September return to the Octagon, according to a report by ESPN. Overeem recently underwent elbow surgery, but says he’ll be ready for action this summer.
Overeem (37-13) is coming off a victory over Frank Mir in February, snapping a two-fight losing skid. Due to injuries and a suspension for a failed drug test, “The Reem” has fought just three times since a 2011 win over Brock Lesnar.
“Alistair is looking to return in February,” said UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta. “We haven’t finalized it yet, but he’s expressed an interest in fighting in Japan. I don’t know if we’ll have a spot on the card for that, but I would expect him to come back in that time frame.”
Overeem turned 34 years of age earlier this month and was rumored for a potential showdown with Junior dos Santos earlier this year. However, the injuries suffered in his win over Mir forced him to decline the fight.
After his win over Lesnar in 2011, Overeem was positioned to challenge then-champion dos Santos for the title. A surprise drug test given by the Nevada Athletic Commission, though, left Overeem suspended for a period of time.
Overeem is a former K-1 World Grand Prix champion and PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix semifinalist. He also was the interim, and last, DREAM heavyweight champion.
Throughout his MMA career, Overeem has made a name for himself in Japan. The last time he fought there was in 2010 when he knocked out Todd Duffee in 19 seconds. He also holds wins over Mark Hunt and Vitor Belfort in the country, having dropped fights to Chuck Liddell, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in “The Land of the Rising Sun.”
The September 20 UFC Fight Night Japan card from Saitama and the Saitama Super Arena has no bouts announced yet, though a heavyweight meeting between Roy Nelson and Mark Hunt has been discussed.