Whenever we talk about one of the longest-running, and most distinguished, MMA careers in 2021, Alistair Overeem’s name undoubtedly comes up. “The Demolition Man” has been at it since 1999, and at 40 years old, he continues to compete at the highest level at heavyweight.
But alongside his MMA career was an equally impressive kickboxing run. Overeem made waves under the K-1 banner, where he eventually won the heavyweight Grand Prix in December 2010.
Overeem’s climb to the top of the tournament ladder was far from easy. He began his night against Tyrone Spong in the quarter-finals. Overeem fought all three rounds to win by unanimous decision.
He then took on the decorated Gokhan Saki in the semis, which was another daunting task. Overeem ended the fight in a little under two and a half minutes, breaking Saki’s arm in the process.
His final match was against Peter Aerts. Around this time, “The Dutch Lumberjack” already held a legendary status in the kickboxing circles. He’d beaten the likes of Semmy Schilt (thrice), Ray Sefo, and Ernesto Hoost, among many other respected figures in the sport.
But Overeem was just on another level of determination. As you can see in the video below, he constantly pressured Aerts towards the ropes. Then came the first left hook 15 seconds later. It was shortly followed by a right uppercut that stunned Aerts.
Overeem dodged a few and ate a few, but he continued to press forward. After landing a knee to the liver-leg kick combo, he once again backed Aerts towards the ropes and pounced. The referee had seen enough and called the fight to a halt.
Now, people can argue that Aerts had absorbed quite a lot of punishment from Schilt in the fight prior. But the fact remains: Overeem had accomplished a rare feat of holding titles in MMA (Strikeforce and DREAM) and K-1 simultaneously.
This weekend, Overeem will take on Alexander Volkov to begin his final run for UFC gold. It will definitely be a huge feather in his cap if he gets the job done, but BE’s Jordan Breen had perfectly encapsulated The Reem’s career in a previous piece:
Even if he wins his redemptive “one last belt”, Alistair Overeem’s legacy will never be that he was the greatest heavyweight, but it just might be that he is the “most heavyweight” fighter in MMA history.