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Alistair Overeem's MMA Return Might Still Be Awhile

Alistair Overeem's next MMA fight could be as soon as Dec. 31, but his next Strikeforce appearance will not be until next spring at the earliest.

"I will be ready for Strikeforce as soon as I would say April, May, June," Overeem said Monday on's The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.

This time frame for his Strikeforce return would mean that it will take Overeem roughly 3 1/2 years to make his second belt defense.

The soonest Overeem could compete in MMA would be at Dynamite!! on New Year's Eve, but his participation in the Dec. 11 K-1 World Grand Prix Final event in Japan takes priority over his spot on Japanese MMA's biggest mainstream show of the year.

"Yes, there is a chance. I wanna fight [at Dynamite!!] but it is depending on my health," Overeem said. "If there's no injuries I'm going to fight [MMA], but realistically speaking, Dec. 11 is K-1 Grand Prix, that's three weeks to New Year's Eve."

Overeem is currently in preparations for the K-1 kickboxing tournament and is paired against Tyrone Sprong in the quarterfinals. If he beats Sprong, Overeem could potentially be fighting twice more if he reaches the finals of the single-night tournament.

Ideally, Overeem wanted to defend his Strikeforce title in October/November, but could not come to terms with either one of the promotion's top contenders, Fabricio Werdum and Fedor Emelianenko. Overeem said he attended the Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum event in June in San Jose with the intent to publicly challenge the winner, but Werdum went under the knife for elbow surgery following the win and was also intent on keeping his word for a Fedor a rematch. Meanwhile, Fedor's management wanted the Russian superstar to rematch Werdum and was only publicly open to the fight once Overeem announced his participation in the K-1 World GP tournament. Overeem said Fedor's management took too long and he had to make a decision.

"I decided halfway August that I was going to compete in K-1," Overeem said. "Because they didn't want to fight me."

After his December fight(s) in Japan, Overeem says he will have take a vacation in January and would need two to four months after to properly prepare for his return.

"You want to win the fight, you want to kill the guy," Overeem said. "You're not going to take a title defense fight -- which is five times five minutes -- you need to build your conditioning. If I'm going to fight Werdum, if I'm going to fight Fedor, I want to destroy them."

But when Spring comes around, the fans clamoring for a Fedor-Overeem showdown will likely have to wait longer. When asked if he thinks he will fight Werdum or Fedor next, he responded:

"Personally, I think Werdum. Yep, Werdum, cause that makes sense," Overeem said. "I already fought Brett [Rogers] coming out of a loss to Fedor. People gave me a lot of [expletive] for that. 'Yeah, you're a fighting a guy who lost, this and that.' I'm not interested in doing that anymore. Let's stick to some sort of ranking and that rankings tell me Werdum beat Fedor. Now, in my opinion, Werdum is No. 2 and Fedor is No. 3, I would say [Antonio "Bigfoot"] Silva is No. 4.

"... I have not loss my patience because the thing is I'm just going to do K-1," Overeem said. "I'm not going to sit there and wait until somebody wants to fight me. I went to States to challenge people openly and I'm getting a no from Werdum and I'm getting a no from Fedor."

On the show, Overeem was also asked who he would like to fight if there were no interpromotional roadblocks and Overeem named Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos and Fedor Emelianenko. And asked if kickboxing would ever get in the way of signing with the UFC, Overeem said that would not be a dealbreaker, stating "You can negotiate everything."

For now, he's still under contract with Strikeforce and FEG and his next objective is one he considers a "personal challenge."

"The thing is no other MMA fighter is competing on this level in K-1 and no MMA fighter has been K-1 champion at the same time," Overeem said. "It is kinda unique. I think no one had done that and no one else will ever do that."

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