The Interrogation is a regular feature where The MMA Manifesto interrogates some of the world’s best MMA fighters. Next up is Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem who discusses his upcoming fight versus Brett Rogers.
MMA Manifesto: What are you thoughts on your upcoming opponent, Brett Rogers, in terms of his skills/style in the cage?
Alistair Overeem: I have not seen really that much of him, he looks strong and big , but I am not impressed by his techniques! He is very good verbally, I will do my talking in the cage.
MM: Has his criticism of you “hiding/running from opponents the past two years” caused bad blood between you? Does criticism fuel you to train hard/fight harder or fight angry?
AO: Everybody knows that I have not been hiding but that I have been busier then anybody out there in term of fighting MMA and K-1. I had an hand injury when I finally (was) supposed to fight in the States last year. Lots of things have been said about that. I am a professional fighter and fight if the price is right against any opponent. Brett said lately in an interview that I only was fighting in Europe, does he even knows were Japan is or that this country exists?
MM: Do you anticipate the Rogers fight as being your toughest fight yet?
AO: I will not underestimate no (sic) opponent, I will come prepared, but Rogers does not have the same stand up as Mark Hunt or Peter Aerts or Badr Hari in that matter. His ground skills are not close to mine, so no danger there. I will not give him the opportunity for a lucky punch, so he will lose.
MM: Where do you feel like you have the advantage over him?
AO: Everything – experience, stand up and ground.
MM: Assuming you come out of this fight victorious, what’s next for you? Is Fedor Emelianenko still a possibility?
AO: Yes, Fedor is very well possible. I wanted to fight him already now, but the management of Fedor is very difficult and Fedor is almost fighting only once per year, that’s a shame for such a great fighter. I am ready.
MM: Do you plan on fighting more regularly in Strikeforce now? Will you still concentrate on kickboxing too?
AO: I will fight in Strikeforce till September if Scott (Coker) wants to do this, then I will focus on the K-1 GP Finals 16 in Korea at the end of September and the finals in December. I want that title as well and I know I can get it.
MM: With all the muscular, athletic fighters in the sport, why do you think the steroid/PED accusations follow you around more than other fighters?
AO: I always have been a very muscular fighter, even from young age. But when I was like 102/ 103 kg, I had to cut weight to 93kg in Pride. I was eating my own muscle tissue, it was bad. The moment I choose to be really heavyweight, I could eat whatever I wanted and for the first time train with weights as well. I really improved fast in my physique and strength. But not all fighters look like me but still use steroids, like (Josh) Barnett got caught multiple times when fighting, but he does not really look muscular. I was unlucky last year with the brawl I had were I injured my hand, we just agreed to fight for Strikeforce again and then I ended up in the hospital with a serious infection on my hand and had to cancel two Strikefore fights. The M-1 camp used this to start a trash campaign about me, but it fired back at them.
They said I would never fight in the States because they accused me of all kinds of crap, then Vadim (Finkelstien) made an interview on sports.ru (biggest sport site in Russia) and called me a steroid bully and more of this shit. Vadim also said he would prefer Barnett as the next opponent for Fedor, Barnett who has been caught several times with steroids? So they wanted Barnett who got caught multiple times using steroids but then avoided me and calling me a steroid bully? Later Vadim told the press he never said such a thing but his quotes were all over the internet. Vadim must have died from the inside when he found out the Russian reporter had taped the interview and then came out in the open with this recordings after Vadim denied he ever said such things. Vadim apologized to me, but it shows you how unprofessional he acts and how these are the people who “guide” Fedor.