(Would you believe that this photo was taken just two years ago before Alistair discovered the benefits of horse meat?)
When Strikeforce announced that heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem would be fighting Fabricio Werdum in the quarter finals of its heavyweight grand prix and that the winner would be facing Fedor Emelianenko in the semi-finals, the news raised more than a few eyebrows.
According to "The Reem," even he was a bit taken aback by the San Jose, California-based promotion’s decision to eliminate three heavily-anticipated potential final round match-ups so early in the tournament, but he says that it’s not his job to question the decision of his employer and that he’ll fight whomever Strikeforce puts in front of him.
"I have been looking for a big fight for more than a year now. Tournament or no tournament, Werdum was going to be my first fight in Strikeforce [in 2011]. All the fighters in that tournament are good, so there are no easy fights," he explained to MMAJunkie. "I’m a little surprised [that our bracket has myself, Fedor and Fabricio in it], and I don’t know why this bracket is designed this way, but my job is to fight. I’m not picking opponents, so if that’s the way they made the bracket, so be it."
The Dutch fighter says that, besides the potential three bouts he could end up fighting in the Strikeforce tournament, he is planning to defend his DREAM interim title belt and to fight for K-1 as many times as possible this year.
"When my schedule allows it, I will always try to find more fights. I’m a active fighter, so I will never say no to a fight if my management can make the fight,: Overeem says. "I’m focusing on one fight at a time, and my management will talk to the promoter and see when we are ready to fight in Japan."
Although Overeem says that his goal for 2011 is to fight and win as many times as possible, his priority is to win the Strikeforce tournament to shut up his detractors who have been calling "The Demolition Man" a "can crusher."
"[If I win the grand prix] I can show the American fans that I’m the No. 1 fighter of Strikeforce, he explains. "Entering such a tournament is not only great for the MMA fans but also a great way to prove that I’m the best fighter in the world."