UFC's Alistair Overeem focuses on Travis Browne, future
Alistair Overeem put it very matter-of-factly: "I don't look at things in the past. I am more into the future."
It's perhaps in the best interest for many to think along those lines, but considering Overeem's recent past, it seems that approach could be especially beneficial for him.
In his UFC debut in December 2011, Overeem defeated former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, yet instead of competing for the title, the 33-year-old's career took a few hits.
He was scheduled to face then-champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 146 but failed a pre-licensing drug test for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, after testing positive for a testosterone level that was higher than allowed. He was denied a license and was unable to re-apply for nine months.
At the end of that nine-month period, he was granted a license and faced Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva at UFC 156 last February, a fight he (and most others) figured to win. He did not. Overeem was knocked out in the third round by Silva.
"I don't really think about the last fight, actually," Overeem said Thursday. "I don't look at things in the past. I focus on what needs to be done. If I were not that type of guy, I wouldn't be where I'm at now."
Now, Overeem (36-12-0, 1 no contest) will travel to Boston to face Travis Browne (14-1-1) on Aug. 17 at UFC Fight Night 26, the first UFC event broadcast on Fox Sports 1. Overeem disparaged Silva before losing to him and later said he probably underestimated his level of skill, something he isn't doing this time against Browne.
"I think he's a good up-and-coming fighter and I think he's aggressive, he goes for the kill," Overeem said. "Yeah, definitely someone not to underestimate."
The humility expressed toward his opponent doesn't mean that the former Strikeforce, Dream and K-1 Grand Prix heavyweight champion's confidence has wavered, despite losing his last fight.
"Confidence is something you build up and build through training," said Overeem, who was expected to face dos Santos at UFC 160, but pulled out of the bout citing an injury. "Obviously, after my last fight, confidence was a little bit low. But you build it back up again with hard training and hard work. I would say my confidence level is good now."
Overeem believes his experience might play a pivotal role in the fight, which will be his 50th. A win over Browne may not necessarily earn him a title shot (against the winner of Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos at UFC 166), but at the very least, it would be a step forward after a few steps backward.
"It would be fair to make that assessment," said Overeem. "It's very important."