It will be spring when Alistair Overeem faces the winner of the Junior Dos Santos/Cain Velasquez fight.
UFC president Dana White confirmed at the post-UFC 153 press conference that the fight would take place “March or April”.
In doing so he seemingly ended speculation that Overeem would manage to squeeze himself onto a December UFC card.
The Dutchman has been saying for months that he is aiming to return to action in December but as he is suspended until the 26th of that month, it always seemed unlikely.
Overeem had been due to fight Junior Dos Santos earlier this year but then failed a surprise drug test administered in March by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The title shot subsequently passed to Velasquez, who lost the belt to Dos Santos last year.
He was able to escape a charge of deliberately using steroids by producing a prescription from a Texan doctor for a medication which contained testosterone. Overeem claimed he had no knowledge of the medicine’s ingredients even though he was self-injecting it as directed.
NSAC suspended him for nine months rather than the twelve that a clear drugs cheat would get but the incident has done nothing to shift the suspicion that hangs over him. Overeem was once a light-heavyweight and his ballooning up to a very ripped heavyweight has raised eyebrows in some quarters.
Nonetheless, he will be tested again when he applies for a license and assuming he passes he can be formally signed up for the title shot and can begin training in earnest. Overeem is now based in Florida and trains with the Blackzilians team. Among his training partners are Rashad Evans and former adversary Tyrone Spong.