Overeem already has an eye on the future

December, 20, 2011
12/20/11
11:44
AM ET
McNeil By Franklin McNeil
ESPN.com
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Brock Lesnar & Overeem AlistairEd Mulholland for ESPN.comWill looking past Brock Lesnar, left, prove to be Alistair Overeem's undoing?
Fighters are programmed to focus solely on the task at hand. Looking beyond one’s current opponent is a cardinal sin in mixed martial arts, especially when that opponent once held the UFC heavyweight championship.

Brock Lesnar is big, strong, aggressive and fully healthy again. He’s won his most recent bout with Diverticulitis and claims there is no need to discuss the matter anymore.

“I feel great,” Lesnar said Monday during a conference call. “I feel very, very good coming into this fight.”

He will step inside the Octagon Dec. 30 excuse-free. And now that he is at full strength, Lesnar believes regaining the title is just a stone’s throw away.

But the man who will be standing across from him that evening at UFC 141 in Las Vegas isn’t overly concerned with the ex-champ’s health, confidence level or any slight improvements he might have made to his standup game.

Former Strikeforce heavyweight titleholder Alistair Overeem is so sure of walking through Lesnar that he is finding it difficult to follow protocol. Thoughts of facing current UFC champ Junior dos Santos are already prominent in Overeem’s mind. And he isn’t shy about sharing his inner visions.

“Style-wise, dos Santos is going to be an excellent fight for me -- striker against striker,” Overeem said. “With my experience, I should have the upper hand.

“I must say that he is very dangerous with his hands. He’s got a lot [of power] in both punches; he’s clever and he’s fast. I’m looking forward to fighting him after Brock.”

No disrespect to Lesnar, but Overeem has many more weapons at his disposal. Hence the extreme certainty he exudes that his hand will be raised shortly after the opening horn.

“I’m an all-around fighter,” said Overeem, who will take a professional record of 35-11 with 1 no contest into his Octagon debut. “I do everything. I’ve got wrestling; I’ve got Brazilian jiu-jitsu and I’ve got striking.

“But striking is something that I’ve focused on because of K-1. And my striking has gotten a lot better because of K-1, and the fact that I prefer the knockout over submissions.”

Overeem refuses to offer any information about his preparation for this fight -- no names of training partners or hint of a fight plan. But his partiality to knockouts over submissions might be a glimpse into what he has in store for Lesnar.

Regardless of how he intends to dish out punishment, Overeem expects to defeat Lesnar quickly and definitively. When this bout is over, everyone will know that Overeem has arrived in UFC.

“I’m preparing for five rounds,” Overeem said. “But looking at myself, the type of fighter I am, looking at Brock and the type of fighter he is, and looking at our characters, we’re aggressive.

“We’re not the type of guys who back up. We’re fighters who want to finish fights. I’m going to be doing that Dec. 30, and I expect him to be doing that Dec. 30.

“I don’t see it going past the first or second round, second round maximum.”

Lesnar (5-2) agrees that this fight won’t last very long, but that’s where he parts ways with Overeem. He refuses to violate the rule of looking ahead to dos Santos.

“Right now I’m focused on my family, the fight and the holidays,” Lesnar said. “I’m trying to live a somewhat normal life, other than being a UFC fighter.

“I can’t overlook Alistair. And looking toward the next opponent is not a very good thing to do.”

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