Fabricio Werdum Expecting “Opportunity” From UFC After Taking Out “Minotauro” Nogueira
By Kelsey Mowatt
Fabricio Werdum may not have been the first fighter that popped into people’s minds while discussing the heavyweight title shot mix, but with his submission win over Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira last night in Brazil, that could change. After all, Werdum was ranked third in the UFC’s heavyweight division heading into the bout, and with his victory over the former PRIDE champ the 35 year-old has now won three straight.
Not surprisingly, Werdum was asked about his future aspirations following UFC on FUEL TV 10, and what he believes may come as a result of recording the win.
“I’m sure the UFC will look at this very carefully and give me an opportunity because it was against him (Nogueira),” said Werdum, who beautifully worked his way into a fight ending armbar after the bout spilled to the mat in round two. “Probably, if I had a fight with someone else, who wasn’t amongst the top ten, it probably wouldn’t happen, but because it was against “Minotauro” I’m sure the UFC will carefully look into this and give me the opportunity. I’m going to train very, very hard to be able to be the champion in the UFC.”
Of course, Junior dos Santos appears to be a lock for a heavyweight title shot, as a rubber match with reigning champ Cain Velasquez will likely be a significant pay-per-view draw. When that fight will get booked, however, remains to be seen.
After the former champ dos Santos, there aren’t many other names in the top ten who are within close reach of a title shot. Daniel Cormier is currently ranked #2, but he’s gone on record saying he does not want to fight his training partner Velasquez, and that he’s planning to move to 205.
Roy Nelson has been electrifying audiences with his current stoppage run, and if he can defeat Stipe Miocic at UFC 161 next weekend in a similar fashion, calls for “Big Country” to get a title shot could leapfrog him to the top of the list.
Although Werdum looked somewhat winded after the opening round last night, and certainly didn’t overwhelm Nogueira until the fight ending scramble in round two, the win was another historic marker for him. Approximately two years ago, while fighting under the Strikeforce banner, Werdum became the first man to hand a legitimate defeat to the legend Fedor Emelianenko. When asked to compare the two victories, Werdum conceded that submitting the Russian star is still his biggest win to date.
“As I won (defeated) two idols, Fedor (Emelianenko) and “Minotauro” (Nogueira), the first was very special. I really practiced a lot; I was sure I was going to win,” said Werdum, who with the win advanced to the semifinals of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix, but lost by unanimous decision to Alistair Overeem.
“I think luck was also very important in the fight. I was able to beat him in 69 seconds in 2010, so there’s no comparison, but this one with “Minotauro” was also very special because it was here in Brazil.”
Now Werdum will wait and see what the UFC has planned for him, but considering the circumstances in the division, the Brazilian will likely need to fight one more time before challenging for the title.