Newly crowned UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum put in a lifetime best performance at UFC 188, brutally beating and submitting the formerly dominant Cain Velasquez to claim the title in glorious fashion. The win opened up the division to a world of interesting fights, including a potential rematch with Cain Velasquez, or with Junior Dos Santos, the man that starched ‘Vai Cavalo’ at UFC 90.
One fight that hasn’t really been tossed about too much is a rubber match with Alistair Overeem. ‘The Demolition Man’ defeated Werdum in a bizarre Strikeforce GP quarter finals bout back in 2011, avenging a submission win the Brazilian had over him in Pride FC. Talking to MMAFighting.com, as transcribed by MMAMania, the Dutch Greg Jackson’s MMA product believes he can expose the new champion’s weaknesses:
“He’s the same guy, but he has evolved. I’ve evolved, too. And to answer your next question if I think I can beat him, yes, I do think I can beat him. I have been following his progress throughout the years and I can say that I am very hungry to fight him. I definitely do see weaknesses with him. He’s a great athlete, he’s doing great at the moment, but he has weaknesses and I feel I am the guy that can expose those.”
Part of Overeem’s ‘evolution’ has included a failed drug test while with the UFC in 2012. A 14 to 1 T/E ratio, confirming what many had believed for years, saw the kickboxing ace banished for nine months by the NSAC (Nevada State Athletic Commission), and has also led to a great change in his physique. Now riding the crest of a two fight win streak, including a knockout over Stefan Struve and more recEntly a UFC 185 decision against Roy Nelson, it’s not too far fetched to imagine the now clean Overeem getting a title shot with one more decent win.
On to the subject of UFC 188, and ‘The Reem’ feels like the odds were always stacked against Velasquez:
“First of all, big kudos to Werdum. He’s made a great development as an MMA fighter. He’s always been tricky, he’s always been persistent with his black belt in jiu-jitsu skills. But, now he truly is a stand-up warrior and he is an all-around MMA master. He has shown great stuff. The heavyweight division is entirely wide open now. I fought Werdum and had an excellent performance, but I also don’t think Cain had a good performance. Usually, cardio is Cain’s weapon. But yeah, it looked like the high altitude was bothering him, and of course the ring rust.”
“He didn’t fight in two years. So, it was something you could expect. Werdum is off a win streak, fighting every couple of months. Cain did not fight in two years, and I don’t think it’s clever to not understand the high altitude thing. Wrestlers in the U.S. know about that stuff, so maybe he underestimated it, I don’t know.”
Velasquez himself admitted he had only trained 2 weeks at high altitude, and it simply wasn’t enough. Perhaps there is a need for an immediate rematch in the eyes of the new champion, but rematches with Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem loom in the background.
Which fight would you rather see right now for the new heavyweight boss, a rematch with Overeem, Dos Santos, or Velasquez?