Alistair Overeem couldn’t help but smile when addressing news that he will be making his pro-wrestling debut in July when less than a year earlier he had some very unflattering opinions about the profession.
At the time, Overeem was addressing former opponent Brock Lesnarwho rose to fame in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) before eventually becoming the UFC heavyweight champion, as well as a two-time octagon veteran CM Punk.
“It’s lame, it’s stupid,” Overeem said back in 2021. “It’s not even a sport. It’s just lame. It’s bad acting. It’s just lame. Sorry for all the fans of WWE, but I’m just being honest. I’m just giving my opinion. Free country, right?
“I think it’s lame, and because I hadn’t seen it for 20 years. I never watched Brock fight. I never watched CM Punk fight. I knew they were from WWE.”
Just 10 months after making those comments, Overeem has been training professional wrestling as he prepares for a matchup against Adam Scherr — best known as former WWE superstar Braun Strowman — in the main event of a card being held in England on July 9.
Addressing his sudden shift from adamant detractor to active participant, Overeem admitted his perspective has changed, but his opinion has also evolved on other activities as well.
“Life is interesting, let me put it that way,” Overeem said on The MMA Hour. “Cause on the one hand you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re talking smack and then you’re doing it yourself.’ Not too big a fan of it lately, but again, in my defense, I was a huge fan in the 80s when I was 8 or 9 or 10, 11, 12 [years old]. So it’s been up and down, and now it’s up again.
“I was always, just to remind you, not too flattering about kickboxing guys. I’m kickboxing now. I was kickboxing 10 years ago. I was kickboxing 25 years ago, so that’s a little bit of the up and down thing, right?”
Since signing to make his debut, Overeem has been training to prepare for his first match, and he’s already acclimated to the world of sports entertainment where the performers are incredibly athletic while also taking part in a theatrical production.
According to Overeem, he’s felt prepared enough to step through the ropes for his first match already, but he’s happy to continue working to get better before finally making his debut.
“You need to do [train], otherwise, it’s not going to go too good,” he said. “Of course the MMA background helps cause you’re used to falling and doing all the moves but this is a little bit different. Hats off to the guys [who do professional wrestling].
“I’m confident in my abilities. As an athlete, as a fighter, I just somehow have the ability that if I put my mind to it, I will just kick some ass.”
At 6-foot-4, Overeem was always one of the bigger heavyweight fighters in promotions like the UFC, but he’ll actually give up quite a bit of size to Scherr, who was a strongman competitor before making his own move into pro wrestling .
Scherr weighs north of 350 pounds and will have about four inches in height on Overeem. The 42-year-old fighter doesn’t anticipate that stopping him from showing his own power once they’re in the ring.
“He’s huge,” Overeem said about Scherr. “I was impressed. We’re going to meet soon in the ring and it’s going to be less friendly, I can tell you that. You know what they say, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. That would be nice [to slam him].”
For now, Overeem is focused on his match with Scherr with a kickboxing bout scheduled against Badr Hari in October, but he’s not closing the door on future pro wrestling endeavors.
“I’m starting easy and I’m seeing how it goes,” Overeem said. “I’m not going to talk too much, I’m not going to promise too much. Let’s just see how this goes. I don’t know. I’ve always been conservative throughout my fight career. Every time I wasn’t conservative, I was talking too much smack, I regretted it later. So let me be a little bit conservative.
“It’s a new avenue and to be honest, I’m excited. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do it. I think you can break some bones and that’s my plan. Break some bones. We’ll see a little bit where this avenue takes me because again, I don’t like to talk too much. For me it’s a new step.”