In the build-up to the Fedor Emelianenko Vs Fabricio Werdum bout most people were already looking ahead to a potential superfight between current Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem and the seemingly unstoppable Russian.
Werdum’s shock win has put a stop to that though, and now the focus has switched almost exclusively to what happens next for Fedor. The talk is that he will now get an immediate rematch with Werdum instead as they look to avenge the loss and minimize the damage done to his reputation.
Where does that leave Overeem though? He had been led to believe that the winner of the fight would face him, and he appears to still believe that is the case despite the unexpected result on Saturday night.
“Congrats to Werdum for his amazing victory, he told the media he wants the belt so try to take it from me and fight me, rematch time!!!,” Overeem wrote on his twitter account on Monday night.
You can’t help but wonder how he’s going to take the news if and when Strikeforce do announce that Werdum is in fact heading for a rematch with Fedor instead, leaving Overeem to defend his belt against a less deserving and enticing opponent such as Antonio Silva instead.
I can understand why Strikeforce are heading down this route since Fedor is currently their hottest property, but I can’t help but wonder if they are they making a mistake by overlooking Overeem.
He is their champion after all, so if nothing else they are damaging the credibility of their own championship belt by not having him fight Werdum.
Beyond that basic fact though, Overeem has shown with his manhandling of Brett Rogers last month that he has the skills, the physique, the all-action fighting style and the knack of ending fights in devastating fashion that can put a smile on the face of both the fans and the promoter. Sure, the event he headlined wasn’t a major draw on Showtime, peaking at 448,000 viewers, but that’s to be expected considering he’s been out of the promotion and off the casual fans radar for two years while fighting in Japan and Holland.
If they promote him well and give him the right fights while he continues to impress in the cage then I could easily definitely see him being an integral part of Strikeforce’s success moving forward, and having just turned 30, there’s still plenty of fights left in him before he calls it a day.
Despite that it seems that the promotion is still gambling on Fedor – and I believe that is a gamble.
At 33 there are signs that the legendary fighter is no longer at his peak, and worryingly there has been an increasing number of hints from the man himself that retirement is increasingly becoming a genuine consideration. Not only that, but with just one fight left on his current deal there’s no guarantee that he will remain with Strikeforce even if he does continue fighting.
It’s a tough spot for Scott Coker to be in, and to be fair M-1 Global’s influence could limit his available options. In an ideal world Overeem will go with the flow and fight whoever he is given.
The Dutchman still has other commitments with Dream and K-1 though, and if they don’t manage the situation carefully, Strikeforce could find their champion taking an extended vacation from fighting in the U.S.