Recently, an irritated-sounding Andrei Arlovski told Jim Edwards and MMA Latest that the UFC told him his teammate Alistair Overeem "begged" for a fight with him May 8 in Holland. Coach Greg Jackson had said previously that he and partner Mike Winkeljohn were being careful to split up time and real estate at their Albuquerque mega-gym to accomodate both big men.
Arlovski didn’t sound very concerned about avoiding Overeem before their fight, however, claiming that he was the squad’s priority, not the Dutchman. So Overeem himself checked in with Edwards and responded to Arlovski’s claims.
First off, Overeem denied asking for the fight against Arlovski: "No, that’s not correct," he said. According to Overeem, it was the UFC who offered him the fight with Arlovski.
It is worth nothing that his account isn’t necessarily at odds with Arlovski’s.
After all, it wouldn’t be the first time a promoter told a fighter something untrue about their proposed opponent in order to rile them up and get them to sign on the dotted line. In any case, Overeem insisted that the UFC’s CEO and co-owner gave him a heads up that he’d likely be facing one of two former champs.
"The UFC offered me this fight. Actually, Lorenzo [Fertitta] said ‘Cain or Arlovski. Cain is injured, so most likely it will be Arlovski,’" he recounted.
Arlovski said he didn’t care about fighting a teammate in Overeem, and the Demolition Man seemed to share his sentiment.
"I don’t have any concerns fighting a teammate," Overeem continued. "It’s a sport. To me, it doesn’t really mean anything."
Overeem also revealed that he isn’t training at Jackson/Winkeljohn HQ at all, instead working out at the coaches’ satellite gyms. Of course, Overeem expects to beat the Pit Bull, and afterwards he said he’ll get back to getting the attention and help of Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn.
"We’re going to pick right back up where we left off after this fight," he promised.
With that victory, and things returning to normal for him in Albuquerque, Overeem also plans to finally fight for UFC gold. "After I beat Arlovski, I’ll be fighting for the title — end of the year," he promised.