5 YEARS AGO: Alistair Overeem discusses his respect for UFC 141 foe Brock Lesnar, believes he’s better overall than Junior dos Santos

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Alistair Overeem (artist Grant Gould © MMATorch)

Five years ago today, Alistair Overeem talked about his victory over Brock Lesnar, btu the respect he has for Lesnar as an opponent. The following are interview highlights and Jamie Penick’s analysis…

Alistair Overeem made a successful UFC debut to close out 2011, brutalizing the body of Brock Lesnar to earn a stoppage win in the first round at UFC 141. The 31-year-old Dutchman took out the UFC’s top pay-per-view draw to earn himself a shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

It was a fight that many had wanted to see for some time, to find out just where both stood in the heavyweight division. But despite a definite desire for each to prove themselves as the better fighter, Overeem insists there wasn’t any bad blood between them.

“I respect Brock for what he did,” Overeem said in an interview with XX 1090 in San Diego (transcribed by SportsRadioInterviews.com). “Great for the sport, great for the UFC, and I mean he came in there with minimum experience and he took on the strongest heavyweights in the world and he beat them and he became champion. That is something that I think earns respect and admiration. He pulled it off. Now it’s come a time where his game needed to be upgraded and he didn’t upgrade it in time. Then you’re going to fall to other fighters because the sport is always adapting and always changing.”

“He is what I call one-dimensional, but a very good one-dimensional. I think he’s like 275 pounds of mass coming at you with violence, taking you down and doing his thing so he was really good at what he did, but the problem with him is if you’re too one dimensional people are really clever and catch up because there are certain ways to beat certain opponents. That’s one of my strengths. I always change, I always adapt, I always improve.”

That win over Lesnar sets him up for a fight against Junior dos Santos sometime in the coming months for the UFC’s Heavyweight Title. Though multiple people have spoken in public with their belief that dos Santos has the edge in that matchup, Overeem believes he’s the better fighter overall.

“There’s different ways to beat Dos Santos,” Overeem said. “Basically the way I see it is I’m bigger, I’m more experienced, I’m better, better in the stand-up, better on the ground, and obviously he’s a very dangerous opponent but there’s so many ways to beat him. I still have to sit down and study him a little bit but anything is possible with him.”

Penick’s Analysis: Overeem’s confidence in his abilities is unshakeable, and regardless of any doubters he’s going to continue to believe he’s the best heavyweight in the world. He may just turn out to be that, but the fight against dos Santos represents what should be his most difficult fight in the heavyweight division. It’s a fantastic heavyweight fight, and for the UFC’s Heavyweight Championship it should make for a truly marquee pay-per-view event for the UFC whenever it gets set.

[Alistair Overeem art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]

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