Alistair Overeem is brimming with confidence ahead of his heavyweight title fight with Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 on Saturday, so much so that he already predicts "history will be made".
Overeem is one of the most decorated heavyweight fighters in MMA, having been the Strikeforce and Dream heavyweight champion, and the K-1 2010 World Grand Prix champion. He also won the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) Submission Wrestling World Championship.
The 34-year-old knows that winning the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 203 would be his crowing achievement.
Overeem is currently on a four-fight winning streak, but he certainly won't have it easy against a fighter who needed less than three minutes to knock out Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198 in May to win the heavyweight title.
While Miocic poses a serious threat, Overeem is optimistic that he will be leaving UFC 203 with the title belt around his waist.
“It's going to be the crown in my career. It's going to be history. It is going to be history on September 10, history will be made. Yeah, most decorated heavyweight of all time,” Overeem told FOX Sports. “We were speaking about that the other day in some interviews. I like the ring of that.”
Overeem’s road to the heavyweight title bout has not been an easy one as he triumphed over Brock Lesnar in his UFC debut in 2011 before going through a rough patch, in which he lost three of his next four fights. Since his last loss to Ben Rothwell in September 2014, the Dutchman has turned his fortunes around as he has not suffered a defeat in four fights.
Should he emerge victorious, the 36-year-old acknowledged that his workload will only increase as he will have to be at his best constantly in order to achieve his dream of becoming the “most decorated heavyweight of all time”.
"I'm not really appreciating anything, I realize there's still a lot of work that needs to be done," Overeem said. "Even after you win the championship, the work doesn't stop, it probably only becomes more. I'm just basically focused on what I need to do. There's a lot that goes into this — diet, preparation, assembling the right people around you, sparring partners, coaches, etc. — so I’m not enjoying anything.
"I'm just putting in the work and I'm happy to report that everything is going good so far."
Miocic will be defending his title on home soil in Cleveland, Ohio, but Overeem is embracing the fact that he will be fighting in hostile territory as he is determined to ruin Miocic’s homecoming.
"There is a lot of pressure attached to that. He's already doing the championship route, right?" Overeem said. "The appearances, the this, the that, he got married, he's living the life, I mean there's always going to be more pressure with appearances from the home front. To me, I'm stepping into enemy territory and I'm going to use that as fuel and I'm going to use that as motivation.
"To me it depends on how you look at the situation. To me, I know how I’m going to do in this situation because I've done it before. I've fought in Russia in hostile crowds. We're going to use that to my advantage. What that does to him? I don't know. I just see for him more appearances, more obligations, more people wanting something from him and that's going to work in my advantage."
Overeem also hinted that he would like to take on Cain Velasquez if he becomes the new UFC heavyweight champion.
"Again the work will not stop there, I'm already looking ahead — Cain Velasquez is a fighter I’m looking forward to facing and any other heavyweight, I'm looking forward to fighting them, too," he said.