Alistair Overeem is one of the most decorated heavyweight fighters in the world. He’s one of the few fighters to hold a belt in different combat sports. He is also the only mixed martial artist to ever win the K-1 Grand Prix title, which is a standup comb.
Following his K-1 Grand Prix Championship, Overeem went on to earn the MMA Championship belt for the DREAM promotion in Japan. Known for his lethal striking skills and knock out power, he positioned himself as one of the best heavyweight fighters on the planet.
Alistair Overeem was born on May 17, 1980 in Hounslow, England to a Jamaican father and Dutch mother. His parents divorced when he was six years old. His mother then moved Alistair and his brother Valentijn to the Netherlands. Alistair presently lives in Miami.
As a boy, Alistair competed in sports like judo, athletics and basketball. When he was a youngster he got into some trouble at school and was losing direction in his life, so his brother Valentijn – then a well-known fighter himself – took him to the gym to teach him discipline and respect. At first he didn't like to work out, but after training with Bas Rutten, Joop Kasteel and others, he eventually learned to enjoy it.
At the age of 17, Alistair entered his first kickboxing fight under K1 rules. The driven young Alistair won that fight, which marked the beginning of a glorious career and the turningpoint for him to stri-veto become a successful professional fighter.
Overeem took part in his first MMA professional fight when he was 19 years old, defeating highly regarded and then time favorite Ricardo Fyeet by guillotine choke submission on October 24, 1999 at “It's Showtime”, This kickstarted his career and he became one of the best Dutch fighters to fight in national and international promotions such as 2h2h, Rings and M-1. It was just a matter of time before Alistair would receive an invitation to fight at the biggest MMA promotion of the world - Pride FC.
Overeem went on to win two more fights in Pride before entering into the 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix at Pride Total Elimination 2003 where he lost to the future UFC light heavyweight champion and hall of famer Chuck Liddell in the quarterfinal match.
Overeem rebounded by defeating Tomohiko Hashimoto at the InokiBom-Ba-Ye 2003 in 36 seconds. On October 31, 2004 he fought Hiromitsu Kanehara, defeating him by TKO part-way through the first round at Pride 28. He lost his next fight against Brazilian Top Team fighter Antônio Rogério Nogueira.
One of the highlights in Alistair’s career was reaching 3rd place in the most prestigious tournament in the world. 16 of the best fighters entered the tournament and only one could be crowned the best in the world. Alistair - a darkhorse in the tournament - had to face the former UFC heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort and submitted him by choke, which was considered a huge upset.
In the next event, he had to face M.M.A. veteran Igor Vovchanchyn beating him by choke whilst at the same time earning his spot in the semifinals. It was in the semifinals that he faced tournament winner Mauricio Shogunand almost submitted him with his signature choke, however, he was not able to completeit and he lost the fight by TKO.
By becoming third in the tournament, Alistair made his name at the M.M.A. as one of the best light heavyweight fighters in the world.
Overeem took part in his first kickboxing match at the age of 17 under the famous K-1 rules, so he was no stranger to the whole standup game, but it was clear that Alistair was a true M.M.A. fighter and he got knocked out in matches against two of the best kickboxers at that time; Errol Parris and Glaube Feitosa. So he decided to focus only on M.M.A., where he achieved great successes. But on December 31, 2008 Overeem had the opportunity to fight one of K-1’s biggest names - Badr Hari- under K-1 rules with the idea that Alistair would get his rematch in an M.M.A. fight.
What nobody could have expected happened. Alistair KO’ed Badr Hari in the first round in what might have been the biggest K-1 upset. Thanks to this win, Alistair was invited by the K-1 to fight for their promotion as well since he was now one of the few fighters to have two careers in two different disciplines. He lost his second fight against champion Remy Bonjaksy in what might have been a controversial loss as Overeem was getting the better of Bonjasky but got knocked down in the third round after having won round 1 and 2.
On September 26, 2009 Alistair was voted by the fans to participate in the famous K-1 tournament and was selected with the 16 best fighters in the world. His first fight was at the Final 16 event where fighters fight one single fight to get their shot in the tournament. He beat living legend Peter Aerts and was qualified for what people still consider to be one of the best tournaments ever as the rivalry between Badr Hari and Alistair reached its boiling point. Both fighters won their first fight very easily, Badr Hari defeated Karaev in the first round and Alistair even finished his opponent Teixeira in the first round within in a minute. The semi final between Hari versus Overeem had most people on their edge of their seats. Badr Hari defeated Overeem by a two knock down rule. The tournament was won by Sem Schilt who defeated Hari in the final of what might well be the best K-1 tournament of all times.
In 2010, Alistair got his revenge and did what nobody expected, he became the first M.M.A. fighter to win the K-1 tournament. He beat Tyrone Spong, Gokhan Saki and Peter Aerts in one night and made it look pretty easy. He won the big K-1 tournament, which turned out to be the last tournament to ever be held because K-1 experienced major financial problems. Now he was officially the Strikeforce Champion, K-1 Champion and Dream Champion.
Although Alistair wasn’t signed exclusively, he has fought for the Strikeforce promotion out of San José. He defeated hometown favorite Paul Buentello for the vacant Strikeforce heavyweight championship in 2007 by knee strikes. This was how he achieved his first major belt in 2007.
In 2008, while Pride no longer existed, the Japanese promotion event Dream was a new organisation at the time and this is where Alistair fought and defeated both Lee Tae-Hyun and K-1 champions Mark Hunt in the first round. He also dominated famous fighter Crocop, but the fight was scored a no-contest as a shot in the groin ended the fight leaving Crocop unable to continue.
Two weeks after his 2010 K-1 championship victory he faced Todd Duffee for the Dream heavy-weight champion belt. At that time he owned three major belts in three big promotions, which led him to win the international fighter of the year award hosted by Fighters Only.
While DREAM and Pride where no longer serious competitions, Strikeforce announced they would be organizing one of the biggest heavyweight tournaments in the world. Alistair Overeem was named as one of 8 men to take part in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP, alongside rivals Fabricio Werdum, Sergei Kharitonov, Brett Rogers, Josh Barnett, Andrei Arlovski, Antonio Silva and the best heavyweight of all time Fedor Emelianenko.
Alistair requested a rematch in the first round of the tournament when he fought Fabricio Werdum who defeated Overeem earlier on at Pride. On June 18, 2011, at Strikeforce in Dallas, he beat Werdum via a unanimous decision advancing him to the semifinal of the tournament.
He was supposed to fight Bigfoot Silva in the semifinal, but Overeemwas injured and broke his rib in the Werdum fight so he had to remove himself from the tournament.
On September 6, 2011, it was announced that Overeem had signed a contract with the biggest promotion of the world – the UFC. He could have waited for an automatic shot at the title, but he wanted to fight as soon as possible and as a result the UFC organized the major fight between former UFC champion Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem. On December 30, 2011 Overeem made his UFC debut in the main event beating Brock Lesnar in the first round via TKO in 2:26 minutes.
This victory earned him a heavyweight title shot against champion Junior dos Santos. Overeem was scheduled to fight Junior dos Santos on May 26 at the UFC 146. However, on April 4, 2012, Overeem was revealed to have failed his pre-fight drug test. Overeem had a higher level of testosterone because of an ‘anti-inflammatory medication’ mixed with testosterone which was prescribed to him by his doctor. Alistair had to wait 9 months before being able to renew his license.
After his suspension, he fought Bigfoot Silva. Although he went into the fight as the huge favorite, Alistair was surprisingly knocked out after having dominated Bigfoot Silva in the first and second round. His second fight was against Travis Browne and yet again Alistair demonstrated his dominance as it was a very close call or the referee would have stopped the fight, but Browne didn’t give up and recovered and went on to knock Alistair out in what’s considered one of the best comeback fights of the year.
On February 1st 2014, Alistair faced former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, who, just like Alistair, has experienced back-to-back losses. After beating up Frank Mir for three rounds, Alistair earned a unanimous decision on the UFC 169 main card. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Overeem, who outlanded Mir by the lopsided total of 139-5 according to FightMetric.