UFC #2 ranked Heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum has made a quiet rise to the top in his return to the UFC. Last seen dismantling an overmatched Mike Russow in Brazil last June, he is now set to face off with fellow countryman Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at the TUF: Brazil 2 finale.
Werdum will locks horns with Big Nog in a huge battle of two very highly-skilled Jiujitsu wizards, and a win for ‘Vai Cavalo’ may find him in a UFC title shot sometime soon. Obviously, that’s just what he wants, and he will fight any of the top-ranked 265 pounders to get it. Werdum recently spoke up to Pro MMA Now to detail his short term plans to obtain the most coveted belt in all of MMA:
"My focus now is Nogueira fight first. After I beat him, I know it's so difficult a fight, but I'm training a lot for this fight. After then, I don't' know who will be the owner of the belt. But, I want the belt. Maybe 'Bigfoot,' Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez, it don't matter, I want the belt."
He does have a tough test in front of him in Nogueira, the legendary champion who was one of the best to ever compete in a Pride FC ring. And he’s been no slouch in the UFC either. Their June tilt will go far in deciding part of the UFC’s future at Heavyweight, but a title shot for Werdum could be further off than he would like.
At UFC 160 on May 25th, Cain Velasquez will rematch Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva in a championship bout, while Junior dos Santos will face the surging Mark Hunt. It’s entirely possible that the winner of that huge co-main event bout will find themselves as the next title challenger, especially if both Velasquez and dos Santos win as most are expecting.
That would mean that Werdum, even with a win, may have to endure another long layoff or take another fight before facing off with the champion whoever that may be. Still, the seasoned vet will take his chances, and his diverse skillset may just prove enough to lead him to the UFC Promised Land. It just might be a longer road than he had planned.