Alistair Overeem’s fight with Junior dos Santos in the co-main event of UFC On FOX 17 this weekend will be the last in his current contract with the promotion, and it seems that rather than immediately re-signing he’s planning to test the market to establish his true worth.
That’s the word according to Ariel Helwani on the latest edition of ‘Inside the Octagon’ on Fox Sports 1, following a similar strategy to that employed by the likes of Gilbert Melendez and most recently Ben Henderson with the intention of trying to land a more lucrative deal.
That could well be of interest to the likes of Bellator, World Series Of Fighting and new Japan based promotion Rizin who could all use a high-profile heavyweight like Overeem on their roster.
Time will tell whether the UFC will be interested in exceeding any offer that he gets from those promotions though. Overeem was a big signing for the UFC back in 2011 when he arrived from Strikeforce off the back of an 11 fight winning streak, but despite making an immediate impression with a TKO win over Brock Lesnar, he went on to suffer two KO losses in a row and overall has gone just 4-3 in the UFC.
Admittedly he’ll head into the cage on Saturday night with two wins over Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson under his belt, but heavy-handed former champion Dos Santos figures to be a tough fight for the 35 year-old, who’s ranked 9th in the division, and a loss, particularly if it’s a finish, might leave the UFC cold feet.
If nothing else, it certainly adds extra spice to what’s already expected to be an intriguing heavyweight clash on Saturday night in Orlando, Florida.