This past Saturday night, one of the heavyweight division’s most iconic figures picked up their 46th win just a couple of hours before they turned 40-years old. “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem dispatched of Walt Harris in the UFC Jacksonville main event thus proving that he is still quite capable of making waves within the heavyweight ranks. However, he’s finally starting to see an end in sight to his epic career.
Overeem’s professional MMA career began in 1999 and he’s been essentially competing at the highest level ever since. Whether that’s been in MMA or kickboxing. According to him, this most recent bout was the 92nd of his overall combat sports career. With that in mind, Overeem is planning to finish out his UFC contract which involves four more fights.
Obviously, it would be a dream come true for Overeem to ride off into the sunset following a capturing of the ever-illusive UFC crown. So it goes without saying that that would be a great fight for him in this final four. It just comes down to who it might be against. And having fought just about everyone and anyone throughout his illustrious career, it makes one wonder just who exactly could be the perfect opponents left for the Dutchman as he still attempts to capture UFC gold.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-1)
Directly prior to Overeem’s clash with Harris, he took on Suriname’s finest, Jairzinho Rozenstruik. As a matter of fact, Harris vs. Overeem was originally slated for that UFC Washington event in which the Rozenstruik bout took place at. Harris pulled out of the bout as the investigation of his daughter Aniah Blanchard’s death continued to unfold.
A mere month prior and Rozenstruik’s unbeaten ways continued on as he iced a former champion in Andrei Arlovski in only 29 seconds at UFC 244. Taking no damage at all in the quick outing, Rozenstruik was the perfect replacement.
In what was easily the biggest fight of his career to that point against a top contender, Rozenstruik made good on it with a hail mary knockout. On his way to dropping a unanimous decision to Overeem, Rozenstruik uncorked a big right hand as the final seconds of the fight fell off the clock. The punch was so devastating that it completely ripped Overeem’s upper lip in two.
Due to his success in that bout, Overeem admitted he’s still counting it as a win as had the referee not stopped the action, four seconds after the punch landed, he would have been victorious. Instead, he’s 3-1 in his last four as opposed to a nice clean four-fight winning streak. Alistair Overeem shared after the Harris win that he’s all for the rematch with “Bigi Boy”. A fight that makes more sense now that Rozenstruik just suffered his first career defeat at the hands of Francis Ngannou.
Jon Jones (26-1)
Will Jon Jones ever move up to the heavyweight division? At this point, it would be nothing more than wishful thinking as despite Jones’ more continuous talking of the possibility lately, it’s been a topic of discussion for almost an entire decade now.
However, to say something like a fight with Jones wouldn’t be a great sendoff bout for Alistair Overeem and divisional debut for Jones would be a straight-up lie.
Overeem’s new improvements to his game in each fight continue to show that he’s a force within the division. If we’re to judge his Harris fight, he’s also still fairly durable as well. A trait that has been questioned heavily throughout this past decade.
In Jones’ case, he’s looked more and more beatable since returning to reclaim the light heavyweight title at the end of 2018. That just makes a move to heavyweight even more intriguing than it had ever been in the years before.
Stylistically, it’s a fight between perhaps the most accomplished striker in MMA history and an impossibly well rounded and innovative all-time great. They also happened to train together for a period of time.
Yeah, yeah … Jones vs. Ngannou is on everyone’s minds at the moment but if anything, let’s give Jones vs. Overeem some consideration.
Ciryl Gane (6-0)
France’s Ciryl Gane is arguably the best and brightest prospect there is in MMA right now. Particularly in the heavyweight division. Being still just six fights into his pro career and Gane already finds himself on the cusp of the UFC’s rankings as he was recently bumped from his No. 15 contender spot thanks to the return of Fabricio Werdum.
As he’s currently three fights into his UFC tenure, the 30-year old Frenchman is poised for a step up in competition any fight now. Whether that will be next or not remains to be seen.
In regards to a potential fight with Alistair Overeem, it really wouldn’t make much sense unless Overeem is to lose his next bout – whoever that may be against. And is it a crazy thought to think that the UFC would match these two against one another at all? Not necessarily.
Actually, it might be exactly what they would do. Especially if it was for Overeem’s swan song.
Now with 65 total MMA bouts under his belt, just three fights ago Overeem welcomed the 12-0 Sergei Pavlovich to the Octagon. Despite Overeem coming off a brutal two-fight skid, it was still head-scratching matchmaking, to say the least.
Pavlovich was not ready for the fight as evidenced by the result. But the UFC liked what they’d seen of Pavlovich enough to give him a massive opportunity right out the gate. Gane has taken a slower approach but done so under the UFC’s umbrella, perhaps giving them more confidence to soon give him a fight with Overeem.
And being the consummate professional that he is, the seasoned vet in Overeem would absolutely give the up and comer a well-earned chance to make their ascent up the heavyweight ladder.
Alexander Volkov (31-7)
Perhaps the freshest and most logical next fight for “The Demolition Man” is none other than Russia’s “Drago”, Alexander Volkov.
Surprisingly, the two have yet to cross paths but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t supposed to.
If we look back at the UFC’s first trip to Russia in April 2019, Overeem and Volkov were slated to headline in a brilliant clash of strikers. Unfortunately for the hometown hero and former Bellator champ in Volkov, he had to withdraw from the matchup. Therefore leading to his fellow countryman Alexei Oleynik stepping in.
Now, both Alistair Overeem and Volkov have rebounded off of brutal losses and are back in the win column. Thus making the time for this fight to happen as good as ever.