Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum participated in a conference call on Tuesday to promote their upcoming fight on Saturday, June 18, in Dallas, Texas. Strikeforce will continue their Heavyweight Grand-Prix Tournament with Overeem vs. Werdum, as well asJosh Barnett taking on Brett Rogers.

Scott Coker, president of Strikeforce, started off the conference with disappointing news. Former Strikeforce women’s featherweight champ Gina Carano will not take part in the event due to medical reasons. Carano, who lost the belt in 2009, was expected to make her Strikeforce return against Sarah D’Alelio. Coker went on to say that he has no further comment on the news at this time. When asked on whether D’Alelio will still take part in the event, Coker said that will be determined shortly.

Once the questions concerning Carano were concluded, the media got the chance to phone in with their questions for Overeem and Werdum.

When asked on his preparation for the fight, Overeem stated that he needs to “focus on myself.” He also mentioned that he doesn’t want to over-train to avoid injuries. As for his motivation, he had this to say,”You’re going to see how motivated I am next Saturday.” Looking at the Grand-Prix bracket, what stands out is the fact that the left side of the bracket seems to have tougher competition than does the right side. However, Overeem said he likes the challenge of being in the tougher side of the bracket and wants to prove he is number one. Another topic that was brought up on several occasions was the idea of fighting the UFC champion once the tournament is complete. Overeem stated that his goal is to unify the Strikeforce and UFC belts, but he wants to take one step at a time.

Overeem seems very confident and had this to say concerning the fight against Werdum,”This fight will be different. You’re going to see a more aggressive Alistair Overeem. I’m looking for the knockout in the opening seconds.”

As for Werdum, he is “excited for the fight.” In 2006, Werdum defeated Overeem in Pride by submission, and he would like to show the world that he can beat him again. When asked about how the fight will play out he said,”Whoever is best standing and on the ground will win the fight.” Werdum echoed Overeem’s answer regarding a desire to face the UFC champion.

Coker also answered a few questions concerning other fights on the card. For the Barnett-Rogers fight, someone mentioned that many people are counting out Rogers, but Coker explained that he has always been an underdog in most of his fights and anything can happen. As for the lightweight division, the K.J. Noons vs. Jorge Masvidal matchup will move up into the main card that will be broadcast live on Showtime. Coker stated that the contest, as well as the bout between Gesias Cavalcante and Justin Wilcox, could have title implications depending on the outcome.

Photo: Gina Carano (Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.