Heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem has been part of several high-profile teams throughout his lengthy professional career. Apart from other stables he’d been a part of in Holland, “The Reem” also trained with the renowned Jackson-Wink Academy in New Mexico but decided to once again make a switch and train with the Elevation Fight Team in Colorado.
Now looking back, the 38-year-old Overeem believes he would’ve been done with the sport, had he chosen to not move around camps.
“If I had stayed in one or two places, I’d probably be retired by now,” Overeem said on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “Because as a fighter, you can get compromised. It’s not for everybody, but I have been compromised a couple times in my career, and to me, it was do or die time. I had to make some changes. Sometimes I didn’t want to make changes, but I still had to make changes if I wanted to continue my career.
Overeem specifically took into account his recent two losses against Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes, respectively.
“Let’s go back to my last loss to Curtis Blaydes — actually that was two in a row, because I had lost to Francis (Ngannou) and I lost to Curtis. I was training out of Jackson’s,” he said. “The chemistry there, we had a good chemistry, but it was just finished. And to me, I still want to fight, so you’re going to keep doing something that doesn’t work for you? Or you’re going to make changes and figure it out again?
“And to me, I had to do that. I had to figure it out again. I still felt I could do that. Back then I was 37, I’m 38 years old now. But I felt like I could still do it, I need to do it.”
Through the number of teams he’d worked with over the years, there is one that Overeem says stood out, but for the wrong reasons.
“In my 26 years, change has actually always been a great thing,” Overeem said. “Actually, the only place that was not a good change was when I went to the Blackzilians. That was truly terrible, and it showed. And I made changes [to get] out of there and it went better, to Jackson’s MMA until that chemistry was finished.
“Because it’s like every relationship. In relationships, chemistry can go down, right?” he continued. “It’s not always a perfect marriage forever, unfortunately, because in the past I’ve also had to say goodbye to coaches I was perfectly okay with, but I had to do it, because yeah, I want to fight, I want to make the most of my career, and I’ve basically always lived by that phrase.
“I want to make the most of my career. And sometimes you’re going to have to say goodbye to people, to groups, to teams, for that goal.”
Overeem was originally slated to face Alexander Volkov in the main event of UFC Fight Night Russia on April 20th, but was scrapped when the latter pulled out due to injury. He will now face the number nine-ranked Alexey Oleynik.