The chance to realize a fight with the all-time great Emelianenko was something that had eluded Overeem on two previous occasions, he said on The MMA Hour, and after his release from the UFC, it was a grand pivot that offered another career highlight in over two decades of them.
The only problem was, Emelianenko – or at least those around him – didn’t seem interested.
“And I cannot blame Fedor, because I’m getting older myself, not to much older, but a little bit. He’s a little bit older than me. So I understand that. But I have done everything I can do to make that fight happen. Ten years ago, but also now.”
Another pivot was in order for Overeem, whose history-making run as Strikeforce, DREAM and K-1 champ led to a 10-year UFC run before his move to the open market.
“If there’s no response, I’m not going to be sitting around waiting until the sun comes up,” he said. “You’ve got to move on. We had zero response. But listen, I still have a lot of respect for Fedor. I think he has an amazing career. I love the Russian fans. He’s going to his thing, I’m going to do my thing, and that’s that.”
Overeem later signed with the UFC, while a deal to bring Emelianenko into the octagon fizzled.
Targeting three fights in GLORY, Overeem won’t shut the door on a return to MMA for a fight with Emelianenko. But with that possibility looking increasingly unlikely, he said “it could be” the end of his MMA career.
“We tried to make a little bit that Fedor fight, and it was radio silence on that end,” he said. “But that would be something I’d be interested in.”