Alistair Overeem said there are a couple good reasons he turned down a proposed fight with fellow UFC heavyweight Junior dos Santos.
Wednesday’s edition of “UFC Tonight” reported that Overeem (37-13 MMA, 2-2 UFC) turned down a five-round fight ex-champ dos Santos (16-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC) in Brazil, as well as a potential three-rounder in Las Vegas. UFC President Dana White characterized it as the Dutchman “literally hiding” from dos Santos.
But Overeem, on vacation in Jamaica, recently defended himself on Twitter:
Overeem is fresh off a lopsided UFC 169 decision victory over Frank Mir. In the Feb. 2 pay-per-view co-headliner, Overeem didn’t put away the former champ, but he left little doubt about the win while posting winning 30-27 scores on all three judges’ cards.
It marked a successful turnaround for the 33-year-old Dutchman, who had suffered back-to-back knockout losses to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Travis Browne in his previous two fights.
Prior to the skid, which put his UFC employment in jeopardy, the kickboxer had won 11 straight fights while picking up titles with Strikeforce and DREAM. That ultimately led to a UFC contract and a promotional-debut win over Brock Lesnar. However, a subsequent No. 1 contender’s bout with dos Santos in early 2012 was scrapped when Overeem failed a pre-fight drug test due.
Perhaps surprisingly, Overeem used his post-UFC 169 interview to call out Lesnar, who hasn’t fought since the duo’s first meeting in 2011. Lesnar, though, had been the subject of speculation about a potential return to the cage, which likely prompted Overeem’s callout. (After the event, White said Lesnar won’t be returning to the cage.)
With Overeem likely out of the mix, White didn’t give a Plan B for dos Santos’ next fight. The Brazilian most recently competed in October, when he failed to reclaim the title from reigning champion Cain Velasquez.
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