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Alistair Overeem returns to kickboxing against GLORY king Rico Verhoeven

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Alongside his years of MMA success, Overeem won the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix and was a semi-finalist in 2009.

Alistair Overeem hits pads at an open workout ahead of his 2013 bout against Travis Brown.
Alistair Overeem hits pads at an open workout ahead of his 2013 bout against Travis Brown.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

When Alistair Overeem announced that he had signed with GLORY Kickboxing back in June, after a nearly ten-year run with the UFC, it came as something of a surprise. A decorated kickboxer in the past, Overeem hadn’t competed inside the ring since his legendary 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix run—capped off by a win over Peter Aerts in the finale.

A year later, Overeem stepped into the Octagon for the first time, limiting his combat sports career purely to MMA for the next decade. Speaking to Ariel Helwani back in June, however, the ‘Demolition Man’ explained his desire to return to kickboxing, now, after so many years away.

“For me, it would be awesome to finish my career where it started,” Overeem said of his contract with GLORY, “which is here in the Netherlands. And yeah, there’s some unfinished business there, right? With some of the fighters in GLORY; there’s been some words said back and forth. And yeah, I think let’s throw myself in that mix.”

As for the unfinished business with different fighters under the GLORY banner? The first name that sprang to mind was none other than Rico Verhoeven.

“If it’s up to me, I would immediately gun for gold, right? I would immediately go for the title. That’s me. So that would be Rico [Verhoeven]. We had a little bit of back & forth, scuffling, so that’s something I’d be looking for.”

At the time, Overeem refused to say whether or not a bout with Verhoeven was already in the works (or potentially even finalized for his debut), but now it appears that that is indeed the plan that Glory has in mind for the former Strikeforce & Dream champion. Speaking once again with Helwani on the MMA Hour, Overeem made the announcement official: that he will be facing the ‘King of Kickboxing’ on October 23rd at GLORY: Collision 3.

The event is set to take place at the 34,000 seat GelreDome in Arnhem, the Netherlands, and will be available on iPPV through GLORYFights.com (h/t MMA Fighting).

“Alright, so, next fight is announced. Next fight is booked, next fight is final,” Overeem told Helwain on Monday, August 23rd. “We will be challenging for the GLORY heavyweight kickboxing title. October 23, in the Netherlands, in my backyard. And yeah, it’s gonna be awesome. It’s gonna be versus Rico [Verhoeven], and I’m very excited.”

Verhoeven stopped by the MMA Hour as well to talk about the bout, telling Helwani that Alistair Overeem is “a name that I’d like to have on the list.” Adding that, while he feels Overeem stepping straight back into a title fight for his first kickboxing match in a decade might be a bit overambitious, “...that’s the fighter mentality and the fighter heart that he has. And he’s been fighting for so long. For my part, I think he knows what he’s getting into.”