Dramatically stealing the spotlight and knocking out K1 ‘Bad Boy’ Badr Hari in highlight reel style, Alistair Overeem is on a rampage. Recording a perfect year in both codes (stand up and Mixed Martial Arts) he has set his sights on the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and their heavy weight division, namely champion Brock Lesnar. Seemingly, stopping Badr Hari was only a small part of the whole story.
Challenging Hari to fight MMA who declined to do so under no holds barred has bigger names on his mind. Starting with Remy Bonjasky and then moving onto the last emperor Fedor Emelianenko. His thoughts get interesting with every passing moment…
Pressure mounted on Hari about his MMA fight, fielding questions from media he addressed this issue by saying ‘It won’t happen anytime now or in the future’ refereeing to a Mixed Martial Arts bout. So we decided to get the run down, first hand from the monstrous yet gentlemanly ‘Demolition man’ who was in festive mood…
Q. Did you plan for a KO win over Hari... did you expect it to be that easy?
A. We had a game plan and it worked, we never underestimated Badr, there are no easy fights at this level. We didn’t underestimate this fight at all…
Q. Most people see this as MMA triumphing over K1, do you think more MMA fighters are focussing on stand up and we will see a 'domination' period begin?
A. I think Holland has the best stand up in the world, look only at the GP results over the last 16 years. I have always done stand up and now with master trainer Cor Hemmers and sparring with Errol Zimmerman, Saki, Benji Zimmerman, Aziz and Kharitonov ,just to name a few. I have noticed huge progress in the last year!
Q. You are off to UFC 93? Who is the most wanted fighter you want from the UFC Heavy weight crop? Why?
A. I like new challenges, I would love to fight Mir or Brock Lesnar, I think I can beat them. But Japan has been good for me this year, so we will see! It will be great to have a crack at UFC!
Q. Is Hari ducking you or running away from the challenge under MMA rules?
A. Yes, he and his management!
Q. Would you think that Hari has a soft chin?
A. Difficult to say, I really hit him hard with that left cross; I guess any fighter including myself would have been dropped by a punch like that. Hari got hit a lot and had like five knock downs in his last 5 fights, that’s not so good! His manager is also promoter, that’s also not really that good!
Q. Are you going to focus a bit more kick boxing or will it be mostly MMA?
A. I am an MMA fighter, I would like to see how good my skills are in stand up now, so I challenged the current K-1 champion Remy Bonjasky. I hope that fight happens soon…
Q. You are dead keen on fighting Remy, how do you think this fight is going to go, will you KO him like you did with Hari?
A. I think, I will stand a good chance, it will be a different game plan as Remy has a good defence, but we think we can beat him!
Q. Is Hari overrated in your opinion? Many people still support him though... what are your thoughts?
A. I think he is a great fighter, like me he always goes for the KO, that’s what people want to see. I guess the organisation and his management are ruining his career. The bad boy image is overdone. In his highlights you still see the fight in the press conference with Graham and after that his foot stomp on Remy, which makes a nice highlight. But also calling all MMA fighters pussies and show no respect, has turn Badr's popularity around. Everybody was happy Hari got knocked out in the Saitama Super arena, including myself. Also the applause he received was not what it used to be, when he entered the arena. I think he fights too much and should be more careful with so many knock downs, my personal opinion. But he is a hell of a stand up fighter! But Badr and his management are not so good in keeping promises and agreements!
Q. You are probably one of the best pound for pound fighters across the board-- kick boxing and MMA rules, what's next for you? what's your big time goal?
A. Well I challenged Remy at K-1 rules, maybe at the end of the year this fight could be made. In MMA I already am the Strikeforce champion, so if there will be a dream heavyweight tournament, I would like to win that and also fight Fedor and Mir at the end of this year 2009!
Q. It may be that someday you might have to fight a fellow team mate like Semmy, if it comes down to it-- how would you approach that sort thing?
A. We would have a normal fight, when we train in the dojo; it’s a war everyday, so no difference in the fight. But we all said that we would only do such a fight in a tournament, if there is no other way! We are going to see this happen soon as we have too many good heavyweights in our gym, it’s not only business for us but also prestige, who is the best in the dojo and in a real fight! So expect more action and aggression then in a normal fight! It will be a war!!!
Q. Any final thoughts or anything you would like to say to the fans please?
A. Keep watching me, Overeem is on a rampage, I always go for the KO, a spectacular fight and will keep doing so in 2009, happy and healthy new year to all of you! Thanks for supporting me and keep reading roguemag.com!