Alistair Overeem says Fedor Emelianenko declined to fight him in Bellator and Strikeforce

By Adam D Martin - August 25, 2021

Heavyweight great Alistair Overeem says that fellow legend Fedor Emelianenko declined to fight him in Bellator not to mention in Strikeforce.

Alistair Overeem, UFC Vegas 18

Overeem became a free agent following a knockout loss to Alexander Volkov earlier this year in the UFC. “The Demolition Man” was open to signing with different promotions and had talks with Bellator about potentially fighting Emelianenko, but the fight didn’t end up getting booked, and Emelianenko instead chose Tim Johnson to fight. For his part, Overeem decided that he will take a break from MMA for now and re-joined GLORY.

Speaking to Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour,” Overeem admitted that he was in talks with Bellator about potentially fighting “The Last Emperor,” but according to the Dutchman, Emelianenko and his team went ‘radio silent’ on Overeem and the fight didn’t happen.

“We tried to make a little bit that Fedor fight, and that was kind of radio silence on that end. But that would be something I was interested in,” Overeem said (h/t

In addition to Emelianenko not wanting to fight Overeem in Bellator, he also said that the Russian turned him down in Strikeforce over a decade ago.

“We tried to make that fight 2010, when he fought Werdum and I fought Brett Rogers – (he) declined,” Overeem said. “After he lost to Werdum, we tried to make that fight. He declined, and now he has declined. So that’s three declines, so I think, with all due respect, but there is no interest from that side to fight me, and I cannot blame Fedor. Listen, I’m getting a little bit older, myself. A little bit, not too much. He’s a little older than me, I think he’s 45 or 46, so I understand. But I have done everything I can do to make that fight happen – 10 years ago, but also now.”

Do you still want to see Alistair Overeem fight Fedor Emelianenko one day, or do you think the ship has sailed?


Alistair Overeem Bellator Fedor Emelianenko