With the quarterfinals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Gran Prix: Overeem vs. Werdum set to kick off in one month on June 18, 2011, many fans—along with members of the media—are wondering if a win over Fabricio Werdum will catapult Alistair Overeem into the No. 1 MMA heavyweight slot.
Since 2007, Overeem has gone undefeated in his last 10 fights, with one being a no-contest due to an unintentional groin strike against Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
He is set to face Werdum in a highly anticipated rematch. Overeem lost to Werdum via kimura submission in 2006.
Both fighters have come a long way since their last fight. Werdum made history in his last bout by being the first man to officially defeat—and the only one to submit—the Russian legend, Fedor Emelianenko last year in December of 2010.
Overeem defeated Todd Duffee by KO only a few months prior to Werdum defeating Emelianenko. So, it’s only natural that these two meet once again, and this time to possibly be named the No. 1 heavyweight in MMA.
Should Overeem defeat Werdum, the only way to determine if he is worthy of being called the No. 1 heavyweight in MMA is if he fights the current and undefeated UFC heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez.
I placed Overeem at No. 2 on my top 10 heavyweights in MMA, only topped by Velasquez.
Here’s a very interesting fact that some of you may not know; Overeem has more wins by submission than he does by KO or decision. In fact, he has a remarkable 19 submission victories out of 46 matches.
Because he is such a powerful and dominant striker, many people discount Overeem’s underrated ground game.
A fight between Overeem and Velasquez could quite possibly turn out to be fight of the decade.
Unfortunately, that is most-likely a good ways off, if it ever happens.
The stars would have to align just right and there are too many variables involved.
Overeem would first have to defeat Werdum. The winner of Henderson vs. Fedor would stay in the Strikeforce heavyweight mix. If Werdum beats Overeem, he will definitely drop in rank.
If Overeem takes on and defeats all comers and if no one gets injured, he could then consider making the jump to the UFC, which would make sense.
Then, there's JDS vs. Carwin. Should one of them defeat Velasquez, that would bring a whole new set of variables to the mix, and we can’t count Brock Lesnar out just yet.
Of course, anything could change at any given moment, but for now the No. 1 heavyweight in all of MMA is the UFC’s Cain Velasquez.
While Overeem has certainly put in his dues and holds an impressive record of wins over many of the sport’s A-list fighters, until he fights the top five UFC heavyweights, we may never truly know.