Alistair Overeem faces uncertain future after UFC Fight Night 26 loss


Alistair Overeem‘s days in the UFC could be numbered following back-to-back losses.

But, according to UFC President Dana White, he wouldn’t be the first fighter who’s proven a world-beater outside the organization and then fallen short once inside the octagon.

Overeem (36-13 MMA, 1-2 UFC) shot up the heavyweight rankings after winning Strikeforce and K-1 titles, signing with the UFC and knocking out Brock Lesnar in his promotional debut in 2011. Since then, though, the striker has suffered back-to-back brutal knockout losses, including one via knockout to heavyweight Travis Browne (15-1-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC) at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 26 event.

“You guys (the media), especially, all believed he was the best at one time,” White said after the co-main-event fight, which took place at Boston’s TD Garden and aired on FOX Sports 1. “He had a big following.

“So you bring a guy like that in, and you see what happens. We bring in the best guys in the world – guys who are supposedly the best in the world – and we find out. That’s what we do.”

For a few minutes, Overeem appeared to be one of those guys. He battered a slimmed-down Browne, one of the heavyweight division’s more promising contenders, with punches, knees and kicks. In fact, he nearly forced a TKO stoppage after Browne faded from a body shot and could do little but cover up as Overeem poured on the punches and the ref ordered him to fight back.

“I was there mentally the entire time, and that almost made it worse because I could understand what was going on,” Browne said after the fight. “My body just shut down on me when he hit me to the body. I’ve never had that experience before, in training or a fight.”

Browne appeared to take an illegal knee at one point in the fight, which contributed to Overeem’s onslaught. However, Browne said he was willing to forgive it.

“At the end of the day, this is a fight, and this is what I signed up for,” he said. “Something like that happens. I know he’s not trying to do it on purpose.”

After collecting himself and getting back to his feet, Browne began to find his openings. He and the team at Team Jackson-Winkeljohn studied Overeem diligently before the fight, and Browne thought he’d have the ability to tag the Dutchman with the exact front kick to the face that set up the eventual win (watch the Browne vs. Overeem video highlights). He just needed to get off the mat to do it.

“I didn’t really execute it when I was on the ground crying like a little girl,” he said. “I got back up and I was angry. I knew I wasn’t going down again. Then I executed the gameplan.”

Browne’s only career loss came to Antonio Silva in an October fight in which he suffered a knee injury. He’s 2-0 since then, and overall, he’s 6-1-1 with four knockouts under the UFC banner. A title eliminator could be up next.

As for Overeem, though? White isn’t sure what’s going to happen with the big-buck fighter, who’s also dealt with legal issues and a failed drug test while with the UFC.

“I don’t know,” White said after the fight. “We need to see. These are not the decisions I make tonight.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 26, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

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