The UFC’s heavyweight division is always must-see-tv. Whenever you have guys pushing 265lbs swinging at each other you’d be hard pressed to turn away. With UFC 207 only one week away there is a HUGE matchup that has somehow been flying under the radar. In a rematch from UFC 188, two former champions and the top two ranked heavyweights, Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez step into the octagon once again.
It’s crazy to think that a fight that headlined a UFC event just 18 months ago now sits in the middle of the main card. The reality of that though is that there are two title fights on the card and those will always receive main and co-main event billing. Be that as it may, we wanted to take a closer look at one of the men doing battle a week from tonight – Fabricio Werdum.
Werdum is an interesting fighter in that he may very well be the most underrated fighter of all-time. That’s a lofty tag to give someone but consider some of the names he has beaten:
- Fedor Emelianenko
- Cain Velasquez (won UFC heavyweight championship)
- Mark Hunt
- Antonio Nogueira
- Travis Browne
- Alistair Overeem
- Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
- Gabriel Gonzaga
- Brandon Vera
- Roy Nelson
Fabricio Werdum was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and became immersed in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Werdum’s martial arts training started in jiu-jitsu but it by no means ended there. He has earned a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and Muay Thai. And it is in jiu-jitsu that he started to get a feel for the competitive world of combat sports.
Fabricio has built an impressive resume in the world of jiu-jitsu. He is a two-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, a two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club heavyweight world champion, and also a European jiu-jitsu champion. It was in Europe, at the age of 25, where his mixed martial arts career began.
Werdum had his first MMA fight in June of 2002 in the United Kingdom. After amassing a 4-0-1 record to jumpstart his career, Werdum was off to Japan to join PRIDE. It was in PRIDE that Werdum got his first win over a big name opponent when he submitted Alistair Overeem with a Kimura in the second round. He would go on to have 6 fights in PRIDE, going 4-2 and bringing his record to 9-2-1 overall.
Following his stint in PRIDE, Werdum made the jump to the UFC. His first tour with the company was short lived as he managed to go 2-2 in his four fights with the company. His losses, however, came at the hands of the very formidable Andrei Arlovski and Junior Dos Santos. Both of which are former UFC heavyweight champions.
In August 2009 Werdum joined Strikeforce. And it was there that he hit his stride and his career REALLY took off. It was in Strikeforce that Werdum would make a name for himself after he became the first man in nearly 10 years to defeat Fedor Emelianenko when he submitted him in the first round. At the time, Fedor was regarded as the greatest mxed martial artist to ever put on the 4oz gloves, and Werdum dethroned him.
It wasn’t long after defeating Fedor that Werdum found himself back inside the octagon, and this time for good. Werdum won 5 straight after re-entering the UFC, putting himself in line for a title shot against then champion and current UFC 207 opponent Cain Velasquez. Fabricio made the most of his opportunity and dominated Cain en route to a 3rd-round submission victory to claim the UFC heavyweight championship. While his reign was short-lived, ultimately dropping the strap to current champ Stipe Miocic, the title win solidified Werdum as one of the all-time greats.
Werdum currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with his wife and two daughters, and trains at Kings MMA. A win at UFC 207 would put Werdum back in line for a rematch with Miocic in hopes of reclaiming his title. Whatever the outcome a week from tonight, no one can argue that Fabricio Werdum has put together a resume that any upcoming heavyweight fighter would consider themselves lucky to aspire to.
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