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Top Secret Ubereem: Public Misconceptions of MMA Fighters

Case #33-11-0
Alistair “Ubereem” Overeem
Employer: Golden Glory / Tatsujin Dojo
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Misconception: The fighter in question is an unstoppable, brutal, violent KO machine.

Reality: Put on a ton of muscle and moved up to an inferior weight class and fought inferior competition for 3 years.

So why do so many in the MMA community have this belief that Alistair Overeem is some kind of terminator preying on innocent humans? The answer is simply in the painted picture that fans have made for themselves.  The super hulk look, the scar, the hammer, the demeanor, all of these play a part, but to get down to the nuts and bolts of the discussion you just have to look at the fights.  Make no mistake, this is not an article dedicated to bashing Alistair Overeem, he is a very good MMA fighter.  This is a series of articles dedicated to what I believe are misconceptions brought on by a number of factors.

Now it’s not to say that if Ubereem fought the top heavyweights in the world that he couldn’t win, I believe he can be very competitive with the best the division has to offer.   It’s the fans and even some media that have this idea in their head that he is an unstoppable knockout force that is invincible.  When really, it’s sort of a highlight reel of Overeem dominating inferior competition that have fans thinking this way.  Now part of it is the division he has decided to move up to.  The heavyweight division, while extremely better than in the past, is still a relatively weak division.  That’s just the nature of the beast. 

There are parallels to be made between Ubereem and Fedor Emelianenko.  When you think of Fedor, what comes to mind?  Certainly you remember his great wins, but it’s hard to imagine a Fedor highlight reel without the bludgeonings of Zuluzhino, Gary Goodridge, Naoya Ogawa, Yuji Nagata etc.  Now compare that to the likes of Tae Hyun Lee, Gary Goodridge(again), Tony Sylvester, James Thompson and it’s not all that different. You can even mention Mirko Crocop.  At the height of Crocop’s popularity in the sport he was labeled as an absolute wrecking machine and he did have great wins as well, but what most remember are brutal KO’s of Minowaman and fighters wearing lucha libre masks.

Since moving up to heavyweight he has lost to Sergei Kharitonov and his only notable wins are Paul Buentello, Brett Rogers and a K-1 win over the notorious Badr Hari.  He is a very good striker and what is always overlooked is that Overeem is simply a phenomenal grappler with an absolutely sick guillotine.  What’s important to point out is that his weaknesses in the light heavyweight division, most notably his tendency to melt when he gets hit, will still carry over to his new super size me physique and weight division.  Contrary to popular belief, muscles don’t mask a weakness in mixed martial arts and if Overeem is fighting good competition 2-3 times a year it will eventually rear it’s ugly head. 

Ultimately, it’s about who your facing and what are doing against them. 

The Verdict
Alistair Overeem is a top ten heavyweight, great mixed martial arts fighter with good muay-thai skills and very underrated grappling chops.  Just like fellow heavyweights Fedor Emelianenko and Mirko Crocop, the misconceptions of invincibility and god like status mostly stem from fighting in a division that sucks and racking up aesthetically pleasing knockouts against inferior competition.

Stay tuned for more fighter misconceptions next week.