clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

GLORY heavyweight champ Rico Verhoeven on Alistair Overeem: 'When he gets punched back, he doesn't like it'

New, comments
James Law, GLORY Sports International

Rico Verhoeven doesn't see a showdown with Alistair Overeem inside the kickboxing ring as a can't-miss, high-profile tilt.

When The MMA Hour host Ariel Helwani proposed the idea to the GLORY kickboxing heavyweight champ on Monday's edition of the show, Verhoeven snuffed out any enthusiasm in a flash.

"Yeah, it [a fight with Overeem] would be something, but I don't really think it would be a [full stadium] fight, you know?" Verhoeven said. "He's an MMA fighter. He's not a kickboxer."

According to Verhoeven, Overeem – who last competed in kickboxing in 2010, winning the K-1 World Grand Prix – intelligently ended his career on a high note. While his 10-4 record was largely contested against a who's who of competitors, Overeem's success was coming to an end.

"The moment that people felt his style, he started losing," Verhoeven said. "For me, I think he jumped to MMA right in time. Remy [Bonjasky] beat him. Badr [Hari] beat him. He's an MMA fighter. He's not a kickboxer. That's what I saw from his fights, especially when everything goes according to the rules.

"When he gets punched back, he doesn't like it. And I've trained with Alistair as well. He's a good guy, but kickboxing is different than MMA. That's my vision on that."

Despite this opinion, Verhoeven doesn't believe Overeem jumped ship to MMA because times were tough – and getting tougher inside the kickboxing ring. Overeem had long competed in both sports simultaneously, but his full-time commitment to the steel cage was a career choice, not a necessity.

"No, no, [he] definitely [didn't run to MMA]," Verhoeven said. "His deal with the UFC was great, of course. I think it was the right time because he definitely would've gotten beat more. More good kickboxers just stood up. If he'd have fought a guy like [Daniel] Ghita, I think he'd have his hands full."

If, however, Verhoeven would change his tune and entertain a fight with "The Reem," he's supremely confident in his chances. The GLORY champion has seen Overeem compete dozens of times as a kickboxer and as an MMA fighter, and he believes he'd have the upper hand in a potential matchup.

"If he'd fight a guy like me, he'd have his hands full," Verhoeven said. "Maybe not back then [when Overeem was competing in kickboxing] because I was still a puppy, I was still a baby, but if we fight now, it's a whole different ballgame."