One of the things MMA fighters try to avoid if possible is fighting someone from their camp. This is because they train together and develop close relationships with each other. Last week, the coaches at Jackson Wink MMA were informed that two of their fighters, Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski, will face each other at UFC Fight Night 87. Since the fight is taking in the Netherlands, where Overeem is from, he is the online betting favorite to win.
According to Holly Holm, the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion and a member of Jackson Wink MMA, coaches at their gym have lost sleep over the decision to pit Overeem and Arlovski against each other.
Holm, who is preparing for her first title defense against Miesha Tate this weekend, said she was surprised and torn when she heard Overeem and Arlovski would face each other.
According to MMA insider Ariel Helwani, team coach Greg Jackson will be in Arlovski’s corner for the fight, but both fighters will continue to train for the fight at Jackson Wink MMA.
Before the fight was announced, Holm said that there was a team meeting addressing the possibility that fighters from the gym will have to fight each other at one point or the other. Holm said this was because the gym had produced a lot of great fighters.
Last year, before Holm was given the opportunity to challenge Rhonda Rousey for the Bantamweight belt, she was supposed almost scheduled to fight Sarah Kaufman, a good friend and training partner.
Although Kaufman primarily trains in her hometown in Canada, she has been a Jackson Wink MMA member for a long time and was Holm’s main training partner for her UFC debut fight against Raquel Pennington.
Holm said learning about the potential fight was pretty awkward for both fighters. She said the two of them talked about it on several occasions and hoped that the UFC would put another fight together instead.
For Holm, it would have been very difficult to fight Kaufman because she was the only female Holm ever trained with.
“It’s not like it’s a title fight. I get if it’s a title fight because only one person gets to have the title. All the other matchups, why do they have to make this one? There are plenty of other girls out there.” Holm said.
Even though she is not personally involved in the fight between Overeem and Arlovski, Holms said she feels the same way about the fight between the two men as she did last year when she thought she would have to fight Kaufman.
While the fight might not seem like a lot of fun for Holm or either one of the men, it should be a lot of fun for the men who are scheduled to face each other. Overeem is coming off three straight wins and is close to getting a heavyweight title shot if he can keep the streak going.
Arlovski was also in consideration for a title shot, but he blew the opportunity when he got knocked out by Stipe Miocic earlier this year. A win by Arlovski will put him back in title consideration, which means both fighters have a lot at stake in this fight.
Holm acknowledged that it wasn’t the first time the team had to deal with a situation like this, but admitted that it is the price both men have to pay if they want to have the championship belt around their waist.