Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem is busy preparing for the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals, but had enough time to respond to Dana White's claims that the Dutch fighter doesn't belong in any top-10 rankings for MMA heavyweights. In an interview with MixFight.nl, Overeem responded in full to all of White's comments, how he believes rankings should be compiled, whether Strikeforce or the UFC has better heavyweights and more. This interview has been translated from Dutch for BloodyElbow.com. Enjoy:
Dana White made comments about you not being ranked in the top 10, what’s your take on his comments.
Dana is entitled to his own opinion and has some valid arguments to claim his case but I don’t feel that they are that strong.
What do you think of those arguments he makes
You know, he’s claiming that I didn’t defeat anybody that’s in the top 10 so why should you rank me. That’s true but the fact of the matter is that I’m a very active fighter and you can see that I’m a different fighter then I was at 205lbs. I’m undefeated since 2008 when I became heavyweight and even more important I have finished all the fights in the first round but then again Dana is president of a company so he’s going to say stuff like that. To be honest it doesn’t bother me because I can make a good case for being in the top 10.
And what are your arguments for your case?
First of all he was telling that I didn’t fight anybody in the top 10, that’s not entirely true. When I defended my title against Brett Rogers, Rogers was considered top 10 after he defeated a former number 2 or 3 fighter Arlovski. I was not in the top 10 at the time and when I defeated Brett Rogers I enter the virtual rankings. Now everybody is saying that Brett Rogers shouldn’t have been in the top 10 in the first place but that’s the same as saying Brock doesn’t deserve a spot on number two. After what Cain did to Brock it’s silly to give Brock a top 5 spot, but that’s my opinion. He’s still a good fighter but having a 5-2 record and almost losing to Carwin and having wins over Herring, Couture and Mir (which he lost to as well) is not something that I’m very impressed about. I’m not going to call the media stupid like Dana but let me put it this way; how can a real M.M.A. insider put a Brock Lesnar above Fedor Emelianenko or even JDS. The fact of the matter is I like that people are debating the rankings but I don’t take them that seriously.
Why don’t you take them seriously?
You know when I heard that Brett Rogers was a top 10 fighter and I wasn’t ranked I thought he was the favorite going into the fight. Then a friend of my called and told me that he was going to bet on me but that I was the favorite and the odds where in my favor. So if the bookmakers don’t even use the ranking then you can say that they don’t mean that much. The same thing before the Brock vs Cain fight. I saw a preview article and most of the fans and other fighters thought that Cain was going to win the fight, that’s strange if the ranking put him number one and the organization calls him the ‘baddest man on the planet’.
If you can make the ranking yourself what does the ranking look like?
I’m not going to make my own top 10 because that will create just more room for the debate and that’s not necessary. People have to define first which criteria comes into play when creating a ranking system. Some people use only their last fight and what opposition they have fought. Other people look at skill set, talent, way of fighting and popularity. Now people tend to use both criteria and therefore you have ranking that can be heavily debated. That’s why Dana White is saying that I don’t belong in the top 10 because he doesn’t take into account my K-1 fights and doesn’t think that beating one top 10 fighter is good enough for entering the ranking. On the other hand you have Bas Rutten that says that I’m the number one heavyweight in the world. He uses my experience, potential, skill set and the way I finished fights against opposition that is not considered top 10. He also knows that my striking is improved very much and therefore uses my K-1 experience. So let’s say that the truth is somewhere in the middle. I’m fully aware that I have to prove myself, I know I can defeat anybody so it’s my job to prove it to my fans and to my doubters.
What do you think of Dana’s claim that the best fighters fight in the UFC and fight each other 3 times a year?
It’s not strange that Dana is making such a claim but if he really thinks that his heavyweight division is the best in the world he should let 5 heavyweights of the UFC fight 5 heavyweights from Strikeforce otherwise he can’t never justify his claim that UFC has the best heavyweights in the world. My opinion in this one is that Strikeforce have a good chance of winning. They tried it when Pride was there so it’s not something new. If Strikeforce is going to have tournament format they should reserve a spot for a UFC fighter, that would be awesome. About the fact that they fight each other 3 times a year, I can only say that he has a valid point but Strikeforce is a young organization and give them the time to prove themselves. They have a great roster of fighters so I’m confident that they will make the fights happen very soon. I’m ready to fight 2 or 3 times in 2011!
It's clear Overeem, and frankly most fighters, don't know how rankings are compiled. It's not about potential, subjective measure of skill or any other criteria. Bas Rutten couldn't possibly be more wrong. Still, I do think it's fair to rank Overeem in the top 10 and I suspect he does have the potential to enter the top 5 if not top 3 with some key wins in 2011. I hope he gets the chance to prove definitively he belongs. Let the debate continue.