Alistair Overeem isn’t done with the kickboxing world just yet.
In his first kickboxing match since 2010, Overeem overcame a slow start to win a thrilling unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 28-27) over rival Badr Hari in their trilogy bout Saturday in the main event of Glory Collision 4 at GelreDome in Arnhem, Netherlands.
Following the win, Overeem, 42, declared himself the new Glory heavyweight champion, prompting reigning titleholder Rico Verhoeven to enter the ring for a staredown with the former UFC and Strikeforce star.
“Rico is not here,” Overeem said. “Not defending his belt, so I am the Glory champion.”
“I wasn’t here,” Verhoeven later responded. “I’m right here. If you’re going to [fight like this with me], you aren’t even going to last two rounds.”
“He knows in a street fight I would annihilate this man,” Overeem fired back.
Overeem and Verhoeven were scheduled to fight one another at a Glory event in October 2021, but Overeem withdrew due to an injury and Verhoeven went on to defeat replacement Jamal Ben Saddik instead. The Glory champion has yet to compete since.
While Overeem took his time getting going in Saturday’s fight, when he found his rhythm there were flashes of “The Demolition Man” that once won a K-1 Grand Prix. Hari took advantage of a wild Overeem in Round 1, landing good counters and chipping away at Overeem’s legs. That continued in Round 2, but Overeem’s accuracy improved and he actually rocked Hari with an uppercut at the end of the period.
In Round 3, it was Hari who looked to be worn out as Overeem picked up the pace before scoring a knockdown with a flurry of punches. Though Hari was able to answer the count, a newly aggressive Overeem didn’t let up and a second knockdown soon followed. That final round was scored heavily in Overeem’s favor, leading to the unanimous call from the judges.
An impending Overeem-Verhoeven confrontation wasn’t the only news to come out of the post-fight comments. When it was Hari’s turn to speak, the 37-year-old took to the mic to inform the crowd that he is nearing retirement.
“I’m really thinking about the end,” Hari said.