Alistair Overeem will be looking to end his trilogy against Badr Hair with an emphatic finish this weekend. The two Heavyweight Kickboxers are booked for their final showdown at GLORY COLLISION 4 booked for October 8.
“The Demolition Man" has spent a career across Kickboxing and MMA collecting numerous world titles across multiple organizations. Notable fighters such as Peter Aerts, Tyrone Spong, Gokhan Saki, and many others have fallen to build his legacy. The Dutch-born athlete made his professional combat sports debut in 1999, now at age 42, he is aware he's getting close to the end and maps his road to retirement.
Before his battle against the Dutch-Moroccan Hari this Saturday night, Overeem took some time to speak in an exclusive interview with Timothy Wheaton of Beyond Kickboxing.
Exclusive Interview with Alistair Overeem
The first time I saw you, I was about 11 years old and I picked up a PRIDE 2003 Grand Prix DVD. And I thought, 'This Alistair Overeem guy is pretty good.' Now I’m here interviewing you.
2003? A while ago. You always insult your guests?
Some of the other fighters I’ve spoken to like Serkan Ozcaglayan and Sergej Maslobojev got into Kickboxing from watching your fights with Badr Hari. Now, they’re on an event alongside you. Knowing you’ve influenced so many great fighters, how does it feel?
We all have our stars we look up to, our role models. Even I had role models, I’ve even fought a couple of role models. That’s pretty amazing when that happens when you hear that, knowing that I’m a role model. Just humbled, also proud of the accomplishments.
It makes me realize that we’re not going to be fighting for too long. It really is the last little stretch. And again, enjoying it. Happy I’m here. We’re going out on a blast.
You win the trilogy against Badr Hari, and then what’s next?
I am thinking… Initially, I was going to fight Rico [Verhoeven] for the title. But he’s doing his own thing, Dancing with the Stars. Badr now, Rico next, don’t know when probably early next year.
There might be another opportunity to do another MMA fight. Because MMA requires a good farewell as well.
Is there a name in MMA you would want? For example, Fedor?
No, no, no. Fedor is what, 47, 48? I have the most respect for him. I think he’s a legend in the sport. I’ve known Fedor since 2000, so that’s twenty-two years. There was a desire to fight him in 2010 in Strikeforce. That didn’t materialize, I don’t know why. And now just I’m beyond that. I wish him all the best. I actually consider him a friend. He’s a good man.
I don’t know. It’s also dependent on the promotion. The UFC is behind me so it’s not going to be a UFC fight. It will most likely be one of the other promotions. I do have a particular scenario in mind, it would be a big stadium, like fifty-thousand people. So that’ll narrow it down for you; what stadium and where. It’ll be something along those lines that I’ve envisioned for myself.
There was definitely a lot of bad blood and trash talk between you and Badr Hari. Things have hugely changed over the years to now, where you two show so much respect for one another, hanging out and training together. What changed?
We’ve not hung out. We played a game of poker together. And we were in the same room training. There’s the utmost respect for him and his accomplishments. I also know and see that his fight IQ is very high, over the dialogue we’ve had, our conversations.
But we’re not friends. We’re going to hurt each other on Saturday. But the respect is there. And the respect is there because he’s a veteran in the sport, literally fighting for I don’t know 20 years or something. And I’m fighting for 25 years.
So there’s mutual respect. He’s like me, he’s a warrior, he’s a different version of me, and I’m a different version of him. We’ve crossed paths two times. He raised his hand once, I raised my hand once. Now we’re going to cross for the third time.
He’s still in the game, still at it, I can only have respect for that. Brings an enormous fan base from all across the world. I respect him. He’s a brother in arms.
Badr Hari never quite earned all the gold he maybe had deserved. Looking at people such as Peter Aerts, Semmy Schilt, and Ernesto Hoost, where does Hari fit among all-time greats?
That is difficult. I’m not the guy to [ask], right? He never won a K-1 Grand Prix. Controversial figure for sure. A lot of ups and downs. He has beaten the best. But he never got the strap around his waist. So, yeah, where do you put him?
I look at it a little bit differently. I see lost potential. He could have been, but he wasn’t. That’s how I look at it. He could have been.
Where is the hammer right now?
It’s in my little, small museum that I have built for myself. I’ve collected all my cups in 93 fights, belts, pictures, and I dedicated a room just for that. It’s there with some gloves and some wraps with some blood on them from me and some other guys, some other names. My little museum, whenever I feel like going back down memory lane.
You’re a member or descendant of the Royal Dutch family?
Interesting story. Family members of mine on my mother's side… my grandfather’s father… He’s a descendant of King William III… You have King Willem I who’s a genius and built up everything. King Willem II maintained. King William III was an idiot.
Many children conceived without titles, without recognition from the palace. He was just wild. Drunk. Lifting skirt. Doing all kinds of crazy things. He’s a madman. Despot. He conceived many children. Over 40. This is a black page from the book of the royal house of the Netherlands. They do not like to discuss this.
The elderly in my family explained it to me. They said that my grandfather’s father was born without any title. But there was compensation from the palace. So they got money from the palace just hush money right, 'keep quiet, okay?'
So there is some blue blood in me. But it’s funny, I brought this up. I was invited for a royal lunch after winning the K-1 Grand Prix title, and I brought this up … I’m sitting with the now Queen Máxima at the table, and there was this press agent sitting next to me. And I was very enthusiastic, right? Like hey, did you know, that I’m also a descendant of- WOOP they did not like that conversation.
[Laughing] The royal family is like 'we don’t know who you are.'
I create my own stripes. I create my own legacy. And now it makes for a nice story.
In K-1 they changed the clinch rules due to some Dutch guy that came in and clinched everybody. What are the exact clinch rules in GLORY? Is it one hand, one strike, and release?
To be honest, I have no idea. And it doesn’t matter. Listen, I’m on fire. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m 42 years old. With all due respect, sorry Badr but I’m going to put you out. Then I’m going to go to Rico. The whole clinch rule, yes they changed it because of me. But I don’t even need clinching.
It’s kind of interesting, kind of funny for these guys. Because they’re facing a man and if it was, let’s say, on the street or octagon, I would murder these guys in one minute, ninety seconds, it’s easy. I’m not on those rules, I’m on their rules so… it’s going to be an interesting night.