Alistair Overeem has been told what he deems obvious.
In a Monday appearance on "The MMA Hour," the heavyweight contender revealed that the UFC brass has told him he'll get another crack at Stipe Miocic's divisional gold if he gets past the surging Francis Ngannou at UFC 218 in December.
But as the division's top-ranked fighter not named Miocic, Overeem said he needn't be told his date with Ngannou will be a title eliminator.
"Logical thinking," Overeem said, per MMA Fighting's Marc Raimondi. "I’m ranked No. 1 now, so the way (I see it), I would be eligible to fight for the belt now, but I also stated that in previous interviews if I need to run through somebody else before, then we’re gonna do that. That is what it is right now. Again, I’m a fighter, I like to be active. To me, that is the best. Some fighters, they are not fighting for a year or a year and a half. I just need to get back in there every four or five months."
Since falling to the champ by first-round KO at UFC 203 last year, Overeem has rebounded with a knockout of Mark Hunt and a majority decision over Fabricio Werdum at UFC 209 and 213, respectively. But while his desire to capture the sole major title missing from his trophy case still burns bright, the 37-year-old acknowledged the window to make it happen is closing.
"Last crack, never say never," Overeem said. "Again, I love what I do, right? But you notice you’re getting older and you notice there’s more things in life. However, motivation is still super high and we’re still winning our fights. But you have to be realistic, too. You don’t want to end up with too much damage to your body, because there’s life after the sport."
Overeem took Ngannou up on his recent call for a clash between the old guard and the new, but as invincible as the rising Cameroonian has looked during his handful of UFC bouts, Overeem intends to live up to his ranking when they take Detroit on Dec. 2.
"This (Ngannou) is like a legit guy. You can see he’s strong as an ox. He’s motivated. He’s willing to fight. I will be kind of his first big-name test. I’m very motivated as well. And it’s gonna be a great fight – great matchup.
“It’s gonna be my job, my team’s job to stop him and to show who is No. 1 – literally who’s No. 1, because I’m ranked No. 1, and then solidify my shot for the title against Stipe.”
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