After suffering violent knockout losses in three of his four UFC bouts, Alistair Overeem begrudgingly admit that he is likely in a do-or-die position this time around with the organization.
"You always have something to prove," Overeem told MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani. "Your reputation is always on the line. You always have to do it right; if not, then you will get criticisms - that's life.
"Talking about something doesn't make it so. Going to the gym, shutting up, and winning fights, that's what my focus has been on. I'm in great shape now and I'm sure it's going to come out."
The former Strikeforce and K-1 champion is scheduled to meet Stefan Struve on Saturday night in Arizona, an opponent who has been away from the octagon for a significant period of time dealing with a heart condition. Although the two competitors both share a nationality, Overeem doubts this will have any impact on his approach to the fight itself.
"I don't really know Stefan Struve. We shook hands a couple of times. He is a nice guy and a cool kid; very motivated. I have no other special feeling (about) it."
However, Overeem was certainly concerned when he heard he would be fighting an opponent with a heart condition.
"I definitely was worried when I heard the news. He is a fellow Dutchman and we have some mutual friends. I was very happy to hear that he was coming back. Am I concerned about his health? I expect him to be 100-percent."
Asked to offer his thoughts about the potential return of Brock Lesnar, Overeem was doubtful that the former champion will return to the sport.
"I'm going to retract my words (from February) and say he's not coming back. He's going to get his ass kicked."