Alistair Overeem won the Strikeforce heavyweight title on November 16, 2007. He never stepped into the Strikeforce cage again until Saturday night.
And when he did, Overeem showed American fight fans why he's the champion. He beat Brett Rogers by TKO in the first round at Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery to defend his title.
"It's been a while, but I'm back and I'm the champion of Strikeforce," Overeem said. "I'm not going anywhere."
In their first clinch attempt in the middle of the cage midway through the first round, Overeem tossed aside the 264-pound Rogers like he just came home from work and threw his jacket on the couch.
Overeem never let Rogers get back to his feet. He eventually mounted Rogers and launched a flurry of punches. Rogers covered up, and referee John McCarthy jumped in to stop the bout with 1:20 left.
Rogers, loser of his last two fights, threw just 14 punches and connected on one. Overeem was 54-for-79, with 69 of those strikes coming after he got Rogers to the ground.
With two-plus years away from American soil -- he was fighting in Japan -- it's hard to truly know if Overeem is the real deal, or if Rogers isn't that good.
Overeem's next fight has to be Fedor Emelianenko. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker must find a way to make this fight happen by the end of 2010, assuming Emelianenko gets by Fabricio Werdum on June 26. (Werdum beat Overeem in Pride in 2006).
Overeem wants the fight just as much as fans do. He called out Emelianenko during his post-fight interview in the ring, saying his management team (M-1 Global) declined this fight.
(Strikeforce photo of Alistair Overeem)