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Alistair Overeem cautions Stipe Miocic about 'sneaky' Fabricio Werdum

Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Dutch heavyweight Alistair Overeem sees UFC gold on the horizon.

After extending his winning streak to four with a knockout of Andrei Arlovski at UFC Fight Night 87 in Rotterdamn, Netherlands, Overeem believes the heavyweight strap is next. Current champ Fabricio Werdum defends his title against Stipe Miocic May 14 at UFC 198, but after that, Overeem believes he's got dibs.

"I think I’ll get the winner [of Werdum vs. Miocic]," Overeem told MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "When you look at the cards, when you look at the numbers, I have the best numbers to challenge for the title, so of course, you don’t want to be premature.

"There’s so much [that] can get in the way – an injury, anything can happen. It’s the UFC. So not to be premature, but I do believe I hold the best cause for a – I don’t want to call it a ‘title shot’ because it’s not a ‘shot’ at the title – I want to call it a ‘title win’ because we’re coming, and we’re going to get that belt."

Regarding his opponent when that time comes, Overeem holds no preference. Either matchup works for him, though he does give a slight edge to the champ once the cage door closes.

"I do think, if you ask who I think is going to win, I give it 60/40 to Werdum because I fought him twice, and he’s just a very clever, slick fighter," Overeem said. "It’s easy to underestimate him because he’ s physically not that strong and athletic, but he’s sneaky. He’s [always got] an ace up his sleeve, you know? So I expect him to come out with some sort of a surprise.

"When you look at Stipe, Stipe’s pretty straightforward with what he does. He’s good at what he does. He’s aggressive, his cardio is good, he’s strong, but I think Werdum is going to out-smart him."

Should the title fight materialize, Overeem said he'll return to JacksonWink MMA in Albuquerque to prepare. Many questioned this point due to the nature of his last matchup against Arlovski – a JacksonWink teammate – but Overeem says relations are fine and business will proceed normally.

"I have a very good relation[ship] with the coaches [at JacksonWink MMA]," Overeem said. "It never went bad, it never went sour. We’ve always held positive and good communications. We were very open about the whole situation towards each other.

"I’ll have a couple weeks here in Holland before I head back, but I’ll definitely be going back to Jackson’s. I’ve had a great run now, four wins in a row fighting out of there. The team and coaches are great. We all get along, go along, as well as the fighters. The gym is stacked with all kinds of fighters – girls, guys, all kinds of weight classes. It’s a great energy there, and I can’t wait to get back in it."

In claiming the title, Overeem would join Bas Rutten as the only Dutch heavyweight champs in the promotion's history. To Overeem, such a win couldn't come at a better time. The UFC's inaugural event in Rotterdam invigorated the entire nation, he says, and he believes the Dutch MMA scene will only continue to grow and expand.

"I don’t want to make things more big than they are, but I mean, I think it’s safe to say that most of the country was watching that event [UFC Fight Night 87]," Overeem said. "It was the talk of the day – not only me, but also Stefan Struve and Germaine de Randamie performed wonderful. There were Dutch flags all over the place.

"I could really feel that nationalistic feel in the stadium and after, so definitely, yes, I think there’s going to be more fighters, more strikers, more K-1 guys making the crossover. This could be the start of a whole new generation of kick-ass strikers from the Netherlands."

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