Alistair Overeem has spent well over a decade as a top-10 fighter across two weight classes, and attributes that longevity to periodic changes in scenery.
The former Strikeforce champion and Pride Fighting Championships standout has trained in some of the very best gyms including the likes of the Blackzilians, Jackson-Wink MMA and his current gym he calls home, Team Elevation.
Overeem is a veteran of 62 MMA fights (44-17, 1 NC) and was a guest on “The MMA Hour” this week, where he told host Luke Thomas that if he didn’t change up camps, particularly after some of his losses, he might have retired from the sport by now.
“If I had stayed in one or two places, I’d probably be retired by now,” Overeem said. “Because as a fighter, you can get compromised. It’s not for everybody, but I have been compromised a couple times in my career, and to me, it was do or die time. I had to make some changes.
“Sometimes I didn’t want to make changes, but I still had to make changes if I wanted to continue my career. Let’s go back to my last loss to Curtis Blaydes — actually that was two in a row, because I had lost to Francis (Ngannou) and I lost to Curtis. I was training out of Jackson’s. The chemistry there, we had a good chemistry, but it was just finished.
“And to me, I still want to fight, so you’re going to keep doing something that doesn’t work for you? Or you’re going to make changes and figure it out again? And to me, I had to do that. I had to figure it out again. I still felt I could do that. Back then I was 37, I’m 38 years old now. But I felt like I could still do it, I need to do it.”
Overeem will return to the Octagon to face the 41-year-old Alexey Oleynik in the main event of UFC Fight Night 149 in St. Petersburg on April 20 after his original opponent Alexander Volkov was forced off the card due to undisclosed reasons.
“The Boa Constrictor” has amassed 69 MMA fights of his own during his career recording 57 wins with 45 of them by submission.