Alistair Overeem is aware that kickboxing has changed since he’s last competed and thinks Rico Verhoeven is a perfect example of that.

Overeem returns to the kickboxing ring when he challenges reigning champion Verhoeven at “GLORY: Collision 3” on Oct. 23 at GelreDome stadium in Arnhem, Netherlands.

The former K-1 Grand Prix winner has sparred with Verhoeven before in 2013 and although it was eight years ago, there were a few takeaways.

“It’s long ago, but the way my mind works of course I take something away from that,” Overeem told MMA Junkie. “But I have to say that Rico has grown a lot as a fighter and a person since then. But then again, there are a lot of fights to analyze as well as video, so we just need to be doing my homework and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Verhoeven has separated himself from the pack, having won his last 14 fights in a row. He holds notable wins over Badr Hari twice, Hesdy Gerges, Jamal Ben Saddik, and Gokhan Saki, and will look to add another marquee name in Overeem.

A former K-1 champion, DREAM heavyweight champion, and Strikeforce heavyweight champ, beating Verhoeven would be the cherry on top of Overeem’s storied career, but he knows it won’t be easy.

“The level always is evolving, and I think Rico has evolved significantly,” Overeem said. “He’s been on top for a while so I think when I look at his game, he’s always getting better every fight so yeah he’s definitely a different type of kickboxer. Also has the size advantage so he’s definitely a different animal than the other kickboxers from 10 years ago.”

He continued, “He has the ability to switch things up. He actually works with a game plan and so does his coach. They’re doing their homework. They’re analyzing, they’re looking for weaknesses. Without giving too much away, they’re good.”


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