Former Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem is doing things a little differently in the lead-up to his showdown with former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir.

Overeem, who used to train with the Blackzilians, has moved his camp to Thailand. His manager, Glenn Robinson, explained that Overeem is still welcomed back, and it seems as though the two sides parted ways on good terms. It doesn’t appear as though “The Reem” is getting the same level of training in Thailand as he would with the fighters at the Blackzilians camp, but it does appear as though it has helped his mental game.

His issues with former camps are well-documented. Since leaving Golden Glory, Overeem has struggled to find a place to call home. It would seem the Blackzilians have finally turned the corner inside their walls and many of the fighters are now turning in positive results. It would make sense that Overeem would want to stay and enjoy the benefits of the improved training camps. However, Overeem has never been one to do things the conventional way.

Thailand doesn’t seem like the greatest place to go to train for a MMA fight. Overeem explained in the UFC 169 countdown clip that he’s had good results from training in Thailand, though, and he’ll certainly need to be in peak form against Mir.

Although not official, it’s widely believed both guys will be fighting for their UFC careers. Mir is on a three-fight losing streak with two of those losses coming by TKO. Overeem is also on a losing streak after entering the UFC with quite a bit of hype surrounding him. He was up on the scorecards against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva before getting dropped and should’ve been awarded a win against Travis Browne, but the referee let the fight go on, which gave Browne the chance to mount his miraculous comeback.

It will be interesting to see if Overeem’s mental game inside the cage has in fact improved since going to Thailand. The one knock against him thus far in his UFC career, and MMA career in general, is his high level of confidence. He’s one of the best heavyweights in the world, and he knows it. Having confidence is good, but Overeem goes beyond the accepted level and has cost him a few losses on his record. If he can’t correct that at UFC 169, it’ll cost him the chance to obtain success in the UFC.

With his UFC hopes on the line, Overeem couldn’t have asked for a better pairing. His opponent, Mir, is a legend in the UFC, but he’s also past the time where he was among the heavyweight elite. The blueprint for beating Mir has been known for years: hit him hard. It’s clear he often times freezes in the cage when he gets hit. “The Reem” is the perfect person to take advantage of that fault. After all, he’s perhaps the best pure striker in the division.

Overeem also has a very underrated ground game that will make it extremely difficult for Mir to bring Overeem into his world. Mir’s offensive wrestling has never translated well to MMA, and he’s not going to be able to withstand the ground-and-pound of a heavyweight in order to get a submission or sweep.

Mir is the perfect opponent to allow Overeem to get back on track. Even if it isn’t the primary factor in an Overeem victory, the isolated training camp in Thailand will be credited as helping to turn things around for the striker. He should find his hand raised, unless he falls back into the same mental traps as before. Yet, it won’t be his time spent training in Thailand that leads Overeem to the win. It will be the fact that he’s paired with a guy who’s tailor-made to allow him to get back to his winning ways.

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.