Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem recently spoke with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani and responded to a challenge issued by Russian MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko and his management company M-1 Global. Emelianenko has flip-flopped several times over who he desires to face next and as they have seemingly finally settled on Overeem, the Dutch champion revealed that he is already planning on fighting for K-1 and could not wait on M-1 Global and Strikeforce to make a decision.
“I’m going to fight in the K-1 tournament, so my first fight will be October for the Final 16 in Korea,” Overeem said of his current fight plans. “If I win the fight, I will advance to the Final 8 in Japan. That fight will be in December.”
Overeem was looking to face Fedor, assuming he won a perceived squash match against Brazilian grappler Fabricio Werdum; Emelianenko shockingly lost that match and now Overeem is only interested in facing the winner, Werdum, in his next Strikeforce title defense.
“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,” he said. “I came to the States to challenge the winner of the fight and that was Werdum, so no need to fight somebody else. 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 also squashed any possibility of a fight with Emelianenko before year’s end, saying that his priority now lies with the K-1 promotion and that he didn’t want to wait around for M-1 Global to make up their minds over “The Last Emperor’s” next fight.
“No, unfortunately not,” said Overeem of the possibility of facing Emelianenko by the New Year. “The reason is because if I enter the Final 16 and win, I will fight the K-1 Final in December. My decision was made because nothing was certain and Strikeforce and M-1 didn’t act fast enough when I made my decision to start K-1 training. Now I read on the internet that Fedor and his management want to fight me all of sudden. Do they really need two months of thinking and negotiating? I think it’s a little strange to be honest. If Fedor challenged me right after the fight it would have been something to take in consideration, but the M-1 management started to say that all the polls on several websites stated that people rather have a Fedor vs. Werdum rematch then a fight against me. There we have another lie by M-1 because every poll I have read stated the opposite and showed that everybody want to see Fedor versus me. Check their current poll at their own Web site (laughs).”
None of this means that MMA fans will never see an Overeem-Emelianenko match; Overeem told Helwani that, should the stars align, he is still open to fighting “The Last Emperor.”
“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,” said Overeem. “So I still think I will meet him in the cage eventually.”