Rogers (10-1) finds himself in the unusual position of getting a title shot immediately following a defeat. The last time he entered the cage was this past November against Fedor Emelianenko at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers, where, despite putting up a game performance against the legendary Russian, he went down with a second-round TKO loss.
Overeem (32-11 1 NC) last fought for Strikeforce back in 2007, when he defeated Paul Buentello to claim the heavyweight title, though he has been keeping a busy overseas schedule with other promotions.
To get a sense of how long it's been since Overeem defended his belt, Randy Couture had just beaten Gabriel Gonzaga to retain the UFC heavyweight title, Matt Serra was the reigning welterweight champ after knocking out Georges St. Pierre, and Jon Fitch had actually finished an opponent.
Yes, it's been a while since Strikeforce has been able to coax Overeem into fighting.
Rogers has been working hard to prepare physically for his up-coming title fight with Overeem, but "The Grim" says that the biggest lesson he took home from his loss to Emelianenko was a mental one.
"Basically, I need to work on not thinking about who my opponent is and their reputation and concentrate on being me, an aggressive fighter with knockout hands," Rogers told PunchDrunkGamer.com. "(Expletive) their names, nicknames and blah, blah, blah...I am going to be moving forward the whole time looking for the kill."
Rogers, who had been undefeated in his MMA career before facing Emelianenko, is hoping to capitalize on lessons he's learned from his loss when he returns to the cage, and believes that his experience against Emelianenko is only going to make him a better fighter in the long run.
"In the first round I just wanted to go in there and bang with him (Emelianenko) to see what he would do and then when I got the top position on the ground, I wanted to finish him right there," said Rogers. "After watching the tapes there were a bunch of small mistakes that I made, and it is just one those things you live and learn to deal with. That fight definitely made me a better fighter because you learn so much more in defeat then you do when you win. So this time I am keeping in mind all my mistakes and also my strong points and working harder than ever before and come May 15th, fans are going to see 'The Grim' return."
Rogers also revealed that he has a little extra personal motivation going into his fight with Overeem.
"I am an emotional fighter and I like to fight people that I don't like, and I don't Alistair because of his cocky attitude and the fact that he thinks he is the shit," Rogers stated. "I don't know if he remembers but I met him about a year and a half ago and it is not something that I have forgotten. I bumped into him on the elevator and I was talking to my manager and he asked me if I knew who that was and I said no. After that Alistair looked over his shoulder at me and was like, "What bitch, you don't know who the (expletive) I am? So my manager told me it was Alistair Overeem and I was like OK. So that whole little situation rubbed me the wrong way and...