The Pitbull doth protest too much.
Andrei Arlovski faces his Jackson-Winkeljohn teammate Alistair Overeem in the main event of the UFC's May 8 debut in the Netherlands. He claims he isn't upset about the booking, but you get the sense that isn't completely true.
Asked if he had initiated the talks to face Overeem, Arlovski made it clear the fight wasn't his idea.
"F**k no," Arlovski told MMA Latest. "Overeem called Joe Silva and begged him over and over to fight me in his hometown. The UFC called me, called my manager and told me that Overeem wanted to fight me on the Rotterdam card. I said, 'f**k, no problem.'
"It is a little weird, but for me, it isn't weird because I don't give a f**k. He won't have coach [Mike] Winkeljohn or Greg Jackson as the coaches so it is no help to him so I am fine with that."
Coach Mike Winkeljohn hasn't been shy about not being thrilled with the matchup, but explained to Submission Radio that each man would get the space they needed to prepare.
Well, it doesn't sound like Arlovski is worried about stepping on Overeem's toes in the gym.
"F**k no, absolutely not," Arlovski said about splitting his training sessions. "I'm training on my schedule. If I have to be there in the morning, I will be there in the morning. If I have to be there at night, I will be there at night. If I have to be there all f***ing day, I will be there all f***ing day. I'm number one priority for the team and that's it. Period."
Arlovski certainly respects Overeem's striking, but believes the former K-1 champion will be looking to the fight to the ground.
"He's a great kickboxer, Muay Thai fighter, has great boxing skills and has great knees and elbows," said Arlovski. "In his last few fights he's been working with the wrestling coaches so I think he will try and take me down but that's good."
Arlovski isn't expecting a warm welcome in Rotterdam fighting a Dutchman but this time he sounds sincerely apathetic.
"Listen, I'm sure there will be a lot of people booing me except a few people who will come from Russia or Belarus to support me, but I'm sure there will be people f***king booing me but it's all good, I'm very excited."
"Overeem is in my f***ing way and I will do everything possible to smash him and that's it. Period."
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Excuse of the weak: it's not that I wasn't man enough to get my back off the cage, Herb Dean allowed him to do it— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) March 24, 2016
@brianstann picks here lately! Either stan really loves me and he's giving me the rub by giving... https://t.co/sQpMpSQ2HH— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) March 23, 2016
Yeah but I love his attitude, this chip on his shoulder may be what he needs https://t.co/Z77gB3tmoz— Brian Stann (@BrianStann) March 23, 2016
Nate refuses to answer the horse-sized duck question.
Nate Diaz tells it how it is! There was no holding back in this interview with Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole.Posted by FOX Sports Live with Jay & Dan on Wednesday, March 23, 2016
.@ThomasalmeidaCB you better hope your chin holds up in round 1!! https://t.co/hbdYNntTI3— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) March 24, 2016
Looking for the Champ .... waiting ... Come join Me my Friend !!!! #ufc200 #eafight #phillyfighters pic.twitter.com/KckFcBULVS— Edward Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) March 23, 2016
Sorry i not found u @juthaimma in this ranking...maybe if you beat me to appear on it one day. #hahaha #runlimarun pic.twitter.com/0D4YHGtnzW— Lívinha Renata Souza (@livinhamma) March 23, 2016
@MikeChandlerMMA it's good to know you follow my every step. Hope you can keep up with this old man in May.— Josh Thomson (@THEREALPUNK) March 23, 2016
Mais treino de kickboxing com o pequeno mestre Emerson Falcão Vieira. Esse é pik das galáxias One more kickboxing...Posted by Jose Aldo Junior on Wednesday, March 23, 2016
mackenziedern and I got our sparring on today! And tomorrow we grapple!! I definitely got 1%... https://t.co/RMttmVYW5v— Lauren Murphy (@LaurenMurphyMMA) March 24, 2016
Thank you coach @randysteinkemma for not killing me today!!Posted by Mackenzie Dern on Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Let's go !! @ufc pic.twitter.com/ELCCwUk4qE— Jessica Eye (@jessicaevileye) March 24, 2016
Pros react to Ariel leaving FOX.
@UFCONFOX lost the best mma reporter in @arielhelwani all bcuz he talks about the real issues in our sport of mma/UFC! and isnt a sheep— Rory MacDonald (@rory_macdonald) March 24, 2016
I was looking forward to my post fight interview with @arielhelwani on FOX. Good luck my brother https://t.co/pkmxdPcWJM— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) March 23, 2016
Not sure what happened here... but @arielhelwani is best in the Biz , that's their Loss— Edward Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) March 23, 2016
RT @GrabakaHitman: Nate asks the UFC Tonight crew where Ariel Helwani is pic.twitter.com/FkgACDywJa— esther lin (@allelbows) March 24, 2016
Announced yesterday (Mar. 23 2016)
Jessica Eye vs. Sara McMann at UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Garbrandt
John Lineker vs. Rob Font at UFC 198
Michael Page vs. Jeremie Holloway at Bellator 153
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Neil Seery at UFC Fight Night: Arlovski vs. Overeem
Gabi Garcia vs. Anna Malyukova at Rizin 1
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.