When you ask mixed martial arts fans who are the greatest fighters in the history of the sport, you will get names such as Royce Gracie, Matt Hughes, Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture.
Alistair Overeem? Not many would place him in that elite company, at least not yet.
The 32-year-old heavyweight has fought all over the world, winning championships in MMA promotions such as DREAM and Strikeforce. Even with all his accomplishments, “The Demolition Man” has yet to prove that he is one of the very best in the world, let alone one of the best of all-time, with only one fight in the UFC.
The “greatest of all-time” debate is partial to the opinion of each person, and Overeem recently let his thoughts be known on the matter.
“I don’t know, we’ve had some great names in the past,” Overeem said in a recent interview with MTV. “I mean Fedor Emelianenko past the thing, we have Anderson Silva, he’s there now doing a great job. He’s a middleweight where Fedor was a heavyweight.”
Emelianenko and Silva are widely considered to be two of the greatest fighters of all-time. The Russian heavyweight went 10-years without suffering a defeat, holding the PRIDE championship for a majority of that time. Silva, on the other hand, holds essentially every major record in UFC history, most notably his outstanding 16-0 record inside the octagon.
Fighters like Emelianenko and Silva have gone years fighting top-level opposition without a defeat. However, even though he is just 1-0 in the UFC, Overeem feels like he is well on his way to earning a place on the list of all-time greats.
“I mean I’m somewhere around the ranks, I’m on my way, five-years undefeated but – of course you can’t talk that much about yourself and I don’t want to – I think that’s something for the people to decide by themselves, you know? I’m just here to build my legacy, I still have a lot of years left in me, I’m healthy, I have no injuries, I’m very motivated, I’m very happy now to be fighting for the UFC and working hard to create my legacy.”
With Overeem rumored to meet the winner of December’s Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez heavyweight championship fight, the Dutchman has the chance to become the first man to hold titles in North America’s two biggest MMA promotions – Strikeforce and the UFC.
Presented with the chance to make history, Overeem is doing his very best to ensure he emerges victorious in his championship opportunity. Until he gets there, Overeem is going to let everyone else decide where he belongs on the list of all-time greats.
“For me, I’m just doing the thing I love every day. I go to the gym, I love the type of life – I love the dedication that comes to it, the development that comes to it. I mean, and I’m going to have other people decide what legacy I have when I have the belt.”