Heavyweights in MMA have the uncanny knack for career reinvention and getting better with age. However, this can also mean that competitors in the higher weight classes find it trickier to know when it is time to hang up the gloves.
Alistair Overeem is a prime example of a fighter who continues to iron out the wrinkles of his game despite his vast experience in both kickboxing and MMA.
Unlike some of his peers, however, the 40-year-old Dutchman knows retirement looms despite winning four of his last five contests in the Octagon – outlining what he thinks will be his retirement timeline on social media.
I’m still improving: even at 40 I think you can clearly see that in my fights. I’m still on a learning curve. But I have to be realistic. I’m going to have a couple more fights, then I’m going to hang up the gloves. If I win the belt, then the mission is completed #onefinalrun pic.twitter.com/gxQrZrrhhc
— Alistair Overeem (@Alistairovereem) November 24, 2020
“I’m still improving: even at 40 I think you can clearly see that in my fights,” Overeem wrote on Twitter.
“I’m still on a learning curve. But I have to be realistic. I’m going to have a couple more fights, then I’m going to hang up the gloves.
“If I win the belt, then the mission is completed.”
In that aforementioned run of four wins from five fights, Overeem has defeated Augusto Sakai, Walt Harris, Alexey Oleynik and Sergei Pavlovich.
His attempts to reinserting himself back in the UFC heavyweight title picture would be much nearer if it wasn’t for losing a fight he was clearly winning against Jairzinho Rozenstruik last December.
Seconds away from taking a decision victory home with him, Overeem was stopped by strikes with just seconds remaining in their five-round contest.
Overeem has fought UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic before, losing by KO in the first round at UFC 203 over four years ago.
“The Demolition Man” will begin his 2021 with a fight against rangy Russian Alexander Volkov in February. A win there could see him in a position to take on Miocic for a second time.