BOSTON – Alistair Overeem knew the questions were coming, and he stood there, answering them, as patiently as possible. It had been nearly six years since “The Demolition Man” had been asked about bouncing back from a loss, but he grinned as best he could and insisted things were better.
“When they say you learn more from losses than from wins, I found that to be a very accurate saying,” Overeem told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “When you win, that means you must be doing something good. When you lose, that means something or some things, multiple things, went wrong.
“I don’t like to lose. I’m a winner, so that put everything on alert and got me back to the drawing board to get everything sharp again. That’s what happened after the last fight.”
Earlier this year, at February’s UFC 156 event, Overeem faced Antonio Silva for a crack at the UFC’s heavyweight title. After cruising through the opening two rounds with precious little sense of urgency, Overeem was blasted by the heavy-handed “Bigfoot” in the third frame and suffered a devastating knockout loss.
It was Overeem’s first loss since 2007, but the 33-year-old insists he didn’t allow the disappointment to overwhelm him.
“I not a depressed kind of guy,” Overeem said. “I’m a positive guy. I’m always looking for opportunity. I’m always looking for answers. So that was me. I was just looking to improve. I had a close look at all the components: training camp, trainers and the whole thing.
“Basically, after a loss, if it’s a close-call loss, obviously maybe that’s just a strategy thing. But if it’s a big loss, I look at everything, and I changed everything up.”
Included among the changes was Overeem’s choice of training locale, and he returned to Holland for half of his camp in order to train under Mike’s Gym head Mike Passenier, trainer to legendary strikers such as Badr Hari, Gokhan Saki and Melvin Manhoef.
“I went back to my roots, back to striking, which is my thing,” Overeem said.
Overeem (36-12 MMA, 1-1 UFC) returns to action on Saturday night, when he meets Travis Browne (14-1-1 MMA, 5-1-1 UFC) in the co-feature of “UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun vs. Sonnen” at Boston’s TD Garden. Browne also lost to Silva but has since bounced back with an impressive win over Gabriel Gonzaga.
Despite a massive experience difference between the two, Overeem insists he’s not overlooking his opponent.
“I think it’s a very good matchup,” Overeem said. “He’s definitely an up-and-coming guy. He only has one loss. He’s aggressive. He’s going to be there and going for the win. But I’m coming from a loss, and I’m also in search of a win. I think it’s a good matchup. I’m looking forward to the fight.”
In many ways, the bout seems to have a make-or-break feel to it for Overeem. The former Strikeforce champ was heavily hyped coming into his UFC debut, but injury, a failed drug test and the loss to Silva have all helped soften the hype.
Overeem said his goal is still to win the UFC’s heavyweight belt, and his latest setback isn’t going to stop him.
“Listen, in my life, I was not born with a golden spoon,” Overeem said. “I’ve had a lot of setbacks in my life. But you keep on going. You keep opening yourself up to people who will help you. Solutions come. You just keep on going with your chin up and your shoulders back, and you keep on moving forward.
“It’s not hard. I’m very passionate, and I want to win, and you do whatever it takes to win.”
For the latest on UFC Fight Night 26, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.