Alistair Overeem explains what has kept him from retiring

Alistair Overeem, UFC St. Petersburg
Image: UFC on Instagram

Former Strikeforce, DREAM and K-1 heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem has been fighting for a very long time. And despite his long history in the rings and cages of the world’s top promotions, he’s still a force to be reckoned with, ranked as one of the top contenders in the perilous UFC heavyweight division.

Speaking on The MMA Hour recently, Alistair Overeem explained that a big key to his longevity has been his frequent camp changes. For example, after his recent loss to Curtis Blaydes, he migrated to Elevation Fight Team to train alongside Blaydes.

“If I had stayed in one or two places, I’d probably be retired by now,” Overeem said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “Because as a fighter, you can get compromised. It’s not for everybody, but I have been compromised a couple times in my career, and to me, it was do or die time. I had to make some changes. Sometimes I didn’t want to make changes, but I still had to make changes if I wanted to continue my career.

“Let’s go back to my last loss to Curtis Blaydes — actually that was two in a row, because I had lost to Francis (Ngannou) and I lost to Curtis. I was training out of Jackson’s. The chemistry there, we had a good chemistry, but it was just finished. And to me, I still want to fight, so you’re going to keep doing something that doesn’t work for you? Or you’re going to make changes and figure it out again? And to me, I had to do that. I had to figure it out again. I still felt I could do that. Back then I was 37, I’m 38 years old now. But I felt like I could still do it, I need to do it.”

Alistair Overeem has been training extensively alongside his recent opponent Curtis Blaydes, and has some high praise for the American who so recently defeated him.

“He’s a great fighter, he’s a great athlete, and he’s a great guy as well,” Overeem said of Blaydes. “I really actually like him. I’ve trained, in my 26 years, with a lot of professionals, a lot of champions, a lot of strong fighters, and Curtis is one of my favorites. No ego whatsoever. We don’t discuss our fight. We lift each other up to a better level, and it’s great to be part of the team and great to help him on his journey to greatness.”

How much longer do you think we’ll see Alistair Overeem competing at the top?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/9/2019.