TORONTO – Two-time UFC champion Frank Mir and one-time Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem will meet at UFC 167 in November. With each fighter riding a losing streak, it has the feel of a high-gloss "do or die" fight.
If Overeem loses a third time in a row, he becomes one of the biggest busts in the Zuffa era. If Mir loses his fourth in a row, obviously the writing is on the wall there, as well.
At the UFC 165 media day scrum at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto, Dana White was asked point blank if Mir-Overeem was do or die for both me. His answer was unflinching.
"Yeah, definitely," he said. "Definitely."
When asked what the logic was of booking Overeem so soon after being knocked out twice in a row, his latest coming at UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston on August 17 to Travis Browne, White said they book matches based on whether they are medically cleared or not.
"The doctor says [Overeem]’s ready," he said. "If the doctor clears him, he’s ready to go."
Since defeating Brock Lesnar at UFC 141 in what was his crowning moment in the UFC, Overeem has since been knocked out by Antonio Silva and Browne. His recent slide is exacerbated by a nine-month suspension he received for a failed pre-fight drug test (elevated testosterone levels) ahead of his title fight at UFC 146 with erstwhile champion Junior dos Santos.
Coincidentally, it was Mir who filled in for him against dos Santos in what turned out to be the fight that began his downfall. Had he beaten Dos Santos Mir would have been the UFC’s first three-time champion. Instead, he lost via TKO in the second round. He has since lost a decision to Daniel Cormier and suffered a TKO loss to Josh Barnett.