• UFC 156

Overeem could return against Silva in February

ESPN staff
November 14, 2012
Alistair Overeem is keen to get back to business as soon as possible © Getty Images

Heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem will make his return to the Octagon against Antonio Silva at UFC 156, according to reports.

Overeem is currently serving a suspension after failing a drugs test ahead of a scheduled heavyweight title fight with Junior dos Santos earlier in the year. The Dutchman is due to return in the New Year - with the UFC apparently keen to add him to the card for UFC 156 in Las Vegas at the start of February, the traditional Super Bowl weekend event.

Overeem, 32, is eligible to re-apply for a fight licence with the Nevada Athletic Commission on December 27. If granted, he could return to the Octagon at the start of 2013.

"Come December 27, he's like any other fighter," NAC executive director Keith Kizer said. "He's free to apply for his licence. The commission will not do it administratively, however. He has to appear at a commission meeting."

That meeting would likely happen in mid-January, with Kizer adding: "The commission can go any way they want to at that meeting. They could say yes; they could say no; they could say yes with conditions.

"All of that will be on the table, but nothing can happen as far as licensure until after December 27."

If the fight does go ahead as planned, Overeem will be looking to re-establish his status as a title contender in the division - while Silva, coming off a knockout of Travis Browne in October, will be looking to further his own ambitions.

The Brazilian is confident he can beat Overeem should they meet.

"If Overeem really doesn't want to have to wait for a fight after his suspension is up, I am here ready to welcome him," Silva today told MMAjunkie.com. "Overeem is big and strong, but I know I can beat him. Even if he was created in the lab, I can beat him."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.