Is Alistair Overeem The Most Overrated Mixed Martial Artist?

Will Overeem be able to defeat Werdum this time around?

Strikeforce and DREAM heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem is looked at as a dominating force in the sport. There is no questioning his physical prowess, but his resume is less than stellar and it leaves a lot to desire.

Since winning the DREAM heavyweight title in 2007, Overeem has only defended his title twice. Why is one of the “most dominant heavyweights” not putting his title on the line and facing top competition. Like Fedor Emelianenko, “The Reem” is only hurting himself by not fighting the best.

Tim Marchman of Sports Illustrated had some harsh words for the heavyweight champ and even took a few shots at former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn. Marchman writes:

Alistair Overeem, who owns about as many heavyweight titles he never defends as he does wins over impressive opponents, is a fraud. At those moments when you are tempted to think that fighting is, for all its bright promise, about the most thoroughly debased sport one can follow, think of this thick rope of Dutch muscle and despair.

This Saturday in Dallas, Overeem will take the first really serious fight he’s had in four years, a quarterfinal bout in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. If he beats Fabricio Werdum, it will be, speaking generously, the fourth impressive win in a long career, and the first since 2006. That such things can be said of a man widely, if inexplicably, held to be one of the best heavyweights in the world makes him a fine example of what you might call the B.J. Penn Fallacy.

The Penn Fallacy occurs when a fighter is thought of as top rank despite there being no evidence that he is. It holds theory above practice and style above achievement, and lends support to all promoters who seek to carefully manicure the images of fighters who look or talk a part they can’t actually play. It negates the very point of fighting, which is that it is a sport in which a man is wholly accountable for, and judged by, what actually happens in his fights. It is bad, and ought to be done away with.

Marchman does make good points when it comes to Overeem, but his shots at Penn are a little out there. I won’t comment on those now (we’ll save that for another day).

When Overeem faces off against Fabricio Werdum this Saturday in Dallas, it will be the toughest opponent he’s had since 2006 when he faced and defeated a much smaller Vitor Belfort. In his fight before Belfort, Overeem was defeated by the man he will face Saturday — Werdum locked in a kimura in the second frame.

Personally, I’m thrilled to see Werdum vs. Overeem this weekend. It will be nice to see the two heavyweights clash and Overeem finally put his full MMA game to the test. We all know he is a beast on his feet, but Werdum has the better all-around game.

When the two men are in the cage, I think Overeem will be in over his head and Werdum will once again walk away with the victory. Perhaps after the fight people will stop talking like he an elite mixed martial artist.

Tags: Alistair Overeem Fabricio Werdum Heavyweight Heavyweight Grand Prix MMA Strikeforce Zuffa

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