Overeem, meanwhile, is hoping for an even earlier time lost — say, just a little after breakfast.
“People are seeing that as an insult, while I’m just seeing it as there’s probably a business rationale behind that,” Overeem said of the change on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “It’s all good with me. To be honest, I perform better the earlier in the evening. If it’s all the way at midnight, I have to fight at midnight, I hate that anyways. If I’m fighting at 6 p.m., that’s perfect for me. Let me fight at 6 p.m. or even 4 p.m. I prefer fighting at 11 a.m.”
With Overeem vs. Blaydes, a key heavyweight bout, moving to the prelims June 9 at United Center in Chicago, a women’s featherweight fight between Holly Holm and Megan Anderson will be on the main card. That’s not a problem for him, Overeem said.
“I was a little bit surprised about the decision, but when I think about it, I can see where the UFC is coming from,” Overeem said. “They want to build the women’s featherweight division. My friend Holly Holm, of course, and [JacksonWink] teammate being a big name. So, she shouldn’t be on the prelims anyway. To me personally, I don’t have a problem with the decision, because it’s gonna be on free TV it might be a bigger audience, right?”
He’s not wrong about that. UFC prelims usually garner a much bigger number of viewers than PPV, courtesy of the price. Most people already have cable, while a smaller amount cough up the $65 in the United States for a pay-per-view card.
None of that matters all that much to Overeem, who is trying to bounce back from a knockout loss to Francis Ngannou at UFC 218 in December. A win over a young, up-and-coming fighter like Blaydes would put Overeem right back in the heavyweight title conversation. Overeem, now 38 years old, said he feels as good as ever in the gym after a long stay in Thailand.
“The Reem” is back in Albuquerque at JacksonWink MMA now preparing for Blaydes. And the placement of that fight on the card is of really no consequence to him, he said.
“I’m just gonna be putting my best energy to put on my best performance,” Overeem said. “If it’s gonna be on pay-per-view or free TV, the gentlemen at the UFC will have their reasons for the decision. That’s all good.”