It has been six months since the former Strikeforce champion has competed in MMA and four months since he was handed a nine-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for having an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio, and the Dutch heavyweight is counting down the days until he is able to apply for a fighting license and do what he does best once again.
Prior to the suspension, Overeem was in line to face UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos in the main event of UFC 146, but was forced off the card due to his troubles with the commission. Frank Mir, who was knocked out by dos Santos in the second round, stepped into Overeem’s vacated spot to challenge for the belt.
In a recent interview with MMA Weekly, the 32-year-old explained that even though it will be over one-year since in-cage appearances, he does not need a “warm-up” fight.
“This time off is perfect. After this, I have a full four years of dedication (to fighting). For me it doesn’t matter when I fight. I don’t need to have a warm-up fight. I’m gonna leave that up to the gentlemen of the UFC to decide. If they want me to go for the title, I’m ready for that.
“I’m gonna lay low and fight whoever they put in front of me. I’m gonna get my hands on (Dos Santos) and when I do, he’s all mine.”
At this juncture, it does not appear that Overeem will be granted an immediate title shot upon his return. Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is currently slated to make the second defence of his belt against Cain Velasquez at an undetermined date by the end of 2012.
Assuming Overeem is re-licensed by the NSAC on Dec. 27, there is a good chance he will compete in the first quarter of 2013, perhaps on the UFC’s annual SuperBowl weekend card in the first week of February in Las Vegas. If dos Santos vs. Velasquez goes down sometime in November or December, it is unlikely the winner of that fight would be able to compete until mid-2013.
The heavyweight division will continue to evolve over the next few months and considering the Dutch fighter only has one UFC fight under his belt, it would make sense to have his take on a top contender upon his return.
Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com, wrote this article. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @FightCoveMike. Also, be sure to follow @FightCove on Twitter and “Like” Fight Cove on Facebook.