One man who has a key interest in this Saturday’s heavyweight fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Fabricio Werdum is the reigning Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. Overeem will likely be defending his title against Emelianenko next if the Russian heavyweight is able to successfully pass the challenge of Werdum.
Overeem took some time to talk to FightLine.com about his bout with Brett Rogers last month, Fedor, Brock Lesnar, his future and much more.
Fightline.com: Congratulations on the big victory over Brett Rogers. Were you surprised with how easy you were able to handle Rogers?
Alistair Overeem: Surprised is not a good word of choice because you train to win a fight. I was expecting to win the fight in the first round, so in that case I was not surprised (laughs).
FightLine.com: You were subject to drug testing for your fight with Rogers, which you passed. Did you feel vindicated after what some critics have been saying about why you hadn’t been fighting in the U.S.?
Overeem: No, not really. There was a lot of speculation and I didn’t take that too personal. I knew I would pass the test so for me it was just more like, ‘I told you so’. How people will react is not in my hands, my job is to win fights so that’s what I’m going to do.
FightLine.com: If Fedor is able to get by Fabricio Werdum, do you think a fight between you and him will actually happen?
Overeem: It’s very difficult to tell because it was strange in the first place that I didn’t fight him this time. Instead of Fedor versus me, he fought Rogers and now Werdum. It doesn’t make sense to me. I’m a fighter so I will fight anybody Strikeforce puts in front of me. I heard that M-1 told the media that Fedor will fight me so let’s wait and see. I have told the media that I wanted to fight Fedor so if the fight doesn’t happen you will know on which side you can look for answers.
FightLine.com: How do you see the fight between Fedor and Werdum going?
Overeem: Werdum is a good fighter but stylistically Fedor will match up great against Werdum. I don’t see Fedor getting submitted by Werdum and in the striking department he will have the edge. So I think Fedor will win, but Fedor didn’t look that good in his last two fights so you never know, a fight is a fight.
FightLine.com: You had once said that you if you had to face Fedor, you would prefer to fight him in DREAM. Why did you prefer to fight him in Japan, and has that changed?
Overeem: At the moment the question was asked, it was asked by journalist in Japan after I have fought in DREAM. So I didn’t make sense to say that I would like to fight Fedor in the States. To be honest, I don’t care if I fight him in Japan or the States. The most logical option at this time is that the fight will be in the States because he’s fighting for Strikeforce now.
FightLine.com: Other than Fedor Emelianenko, what other Strikeforce heavyweights are you interested to fight?
Overeem: Obviously I would like to fight Werdum. I fought him once in Japan and I lost so it makes sense to fight him again.
FightLine.com: You have obviously greatly improved over the years. Are there any fighters that you have faced in the past that you would like to face today?
Overeem: To be honest I don’t want to look at the past that much. Most of the fighters I’ve lost to in the past are still fighting at light heavyweight so it doesn’t make sense to challenge them. I’m a heavyweight fighter now so I focus on fighters that are fighting in my weight class.
FightLine.com: How would you rate Strikeforce’s heavyweight division to the UFC’s?
Overeem: I think Strikeforce has decent heavyweight fighters compared to the UFC. UFC has a big pool of fighters but the top of Strikeforce fighters can face the top of the UFC for sure. If you put the five big names of each organization they can make good fights.
FightLine.com: Which UFC heavyweights would you like to face?
Overeem: I’m not thinking about the UFC, Strikeforce is my home so I focus on their fighters.
FightLine.com: You had recently stated that you would like to face Brock Lesnar. In what areas do you feel that you have an advantage over Lesnar?
Overeem: Brock Lesnar is a very powerful and big guy that has a great wrestling background. So it’s obviously that my striking and experience is something I have a advantage over him. But a fight is a fight, so there are more things to think of.
FightLine.com: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. How soon do you think we’ll see you back in a Strikeforce cage?
Overeem: No problem, I hope this year I will fight in Strikeforce once more.