The Dutch star, who turned 36 earlier this week, is fresh from a first-round TKO victory over Jackson-Winkeljohn team-mate Andrei Arlovski in the UFC’s debut event in his home country.
After Stipe Miocic stunned the division by ripping the belt from home favourite Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198 in Brazil last weekend, Overeem is adamant he will get his shot.
However, Velasquez can also solidify his own title credentials should he bounce back from losing the belt to Werdum with a win against Travis Browne at July 9’s landmark UFC 200 card.
“I just don’t really think that’s realistic (Velsaquez challenging next). His last win was back in 2013 and that is ages ago!” the former Strikeforce, Dream and K1 champ told Sport360 in Dubai.
“Lets be honest he was a dominant champion, there was the whole Junior Dos Santos fight that went back and forth but other than that he’s old news, his victory is old news.
“If it’s not, then I can go back to my championship days.
“Things become old fast in this industry and it’s about what’s happening now.
“He’s coming off a loss and injuries, I’m coming off four victories in a row so we’re ready to get this title.”
“The Reem” is riding a four-fight win streak with victories over Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson, Junior Dos Santos and now Arlovski.
Three of those came by thunderous knockout and he has every intention of adding Miocic to his list of casualties.
“The Arlovski win has all settled now, finally, I’m very proud of myself and I’m very proud of my team,” he added.
“When you look at the fight it was a very flawless victory. I didn’t get hit and when you’re fighting the top guys in the world and you’re beating them like they’re nothing it’s very satisfying.
“Andrei Arlovski came in there with every intention of beating me and knocking my head off my shoulders so it’s a very nice achievement beating him the way I did it and not getting hurt while doing it.
“Now it’s safe to say we’ve secured a title win as I’m calling it. I will get the job done in two or three rounds.”
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Stipe Miocic could scarcely believe what he had just done. Neither, it seemed, could a despondent home crowd.
With one dead-eye right hand, the Cleveland native was able to veil a deftly hush over one of the most vibrant fan bases in mixed martial arts.
And the silence which fell on the 45,000 strong screaming Brazilians rooting for their UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum came quicker than the incumbent’s sprint into oblivion.
Just 11 months after capturing the belt from Cain Velasquez, the manner of his first-round defeat in Saturday’s main event of UFC 198 in Curitiba’s Arena da Baixada, was genuinely perplexing.
Here was a three-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, a fighter known for his craftiness on the ground and a man who has submitted the three greatest heavyweights of all time: Fedor Emelianenko, Minotauro Nogueira and Velasquez. Yet, he abandoned those fundamentals in favour of a reckless striking strategy.
On the ground, Werdum, 38, thrives and you would think, especially against a highly-skilled boxer, that’s what his gameplan would centre around. Wrong.
Under the tutelage of highly-regarded striking coach Rafael Cordeiro, Werdum has developed a strong fight IQ on his feet. But it’s clear he let these new-found weapons in his armoury cloud his judgement.
After targeting Miocic’s legs with kicks, he grew impatient and steamed in with the ferocity of a freight train midway through the opening stanza. With every step his pace quickened until the backpedaling American planted his back foot and slammed the brakes on with a stinging straight right to his chin.
Referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in to prevent any more damage to the poleaxed Brazilian and handed the one-time baseball prospect the UFC title.
“He’s a lot quicker than I thought,” Miocic said. “I was hitting him with some shots. He started chasing me and I hit him with the right and he didn’t like it very much. He started chasing me and I caught him with a good right hand. I have power.”
We all knew Miocic has power, but quite how much was unclear.
One thing is certain, he has power in his lungs. It’s what got him a title shot in the first place as he demanded his chance after defeating Andrei Arlovski in January.
And it’s also what made him realise what he had done on Saturday after he screamed into the vacuum “I’m the world champion! I’m the world champion!” after hurdling the Octagon fence.
Indeed, there is a new name heading up the promotion’s big men and a division once viewed as stale, has a new lease of life.With just three heavyweight title bouts since October 2013, one of them for an interim strap, it seemed this aging division was done. Now, there are options again. Alistair Overeem, fresh from his own victory over Arlovski, will likely be next in line.
And after dousing Werdum’s brief blaze, Miocic is ready to take on whoever the UFC throw at him as he prepares to return home to his part-time job as a fighter/paramedic in Cleveland – a dynamic he says won’t change with his new job title.
“I’m going to keep that recipe together, I love being a firefighter, I love helping people so I’m not going to make any changes,” the new champ said. “I’m the champ but I’m going to continue to be a firefighter.”
Werdum campaigned for a rematch in the aftermath but given the fashion of his defeat it looks unlikely. He hadn’t lost since rejoining UFC in 2012, after fighting outside the promotion
between 2009 and 2012. It is just the second knockout loss of his nearly 14-year career and comes in a Brazilian event built around him.
Now, he’ll have to rebuild his career. “I’m going to come back here, and I’m going to be champion again,” Werdum said.
Cleveland’s Stipe Miocic stunned Fabricio Werdum, claiming the UFC heavyweight title by way of a first-round knockout over defending champion Fabricio Werdum on Saturday night.
The fight concluded after 2:47 minutes, with an unconscious Werdum slumped up resting at the base of the cage.
The result means that no man has successfully retained the heavyweight championship more than twice in the 23-year history of the UFC.
Cris Cyborg, Jacare Souza and more also reflect on their night.