Fabricio Werdum solidified himself as a true threat to the heavyweight throne when he battled back to knockout Mark Hunt at last November’s UFC 180 to secure the UFC interim heavyweight title. “Vai Cavalo” is now set for the biggest fight of his life as he will meet the returning heavyweight king Cain Velasquez at UFC 188 in June in a title unification bout.
Velasquez has been a dominant champion, but he has a problem staying healthy, spending the last year and a half on the sidelines. However, he will likely be very hungry and motivated to prove himself when he meets Werdum in Mexico.
Although the heavyweight king has remained rather quiet so far, it appeared that he had some words for his opponent which were translated through former light heavyweight challenger Daniel Cormier. Appearing on last night’s edition of UFC Tonight, Werdum was warned by Cormier that Velasquez wasn’t too happy with “Vai Cavalo” carrying his belt around:
“The UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez told me to tell you to stop carrying the belt everywhere” Cormier said. It’s making him mad. If you take it to the Florida media tour, he’s going to take it away from you. To be the man, you have to beat the man,”
The Brazilian was quick to fire back at Cormier and Velasquez, saying the first time that he met Velasquez he took him down and submitted him as well. He noted some of the champion’s strong points, but also welcomed Velasquez to take the fight to the ground where Werdum is at home:
“I love him. Five years ago, he helped me with a lot of training with wrestling. When we first met, I took him down. I took him down three times. He grabbed me in a double leg and took me down and I got him in an armbar. You remember that! […] I think Cain has good boxing, good wrestling and good conditioning, but if he takes down me, I say thank you. I’m good. It’s my home. I think he’ll stay there. I’ll finish him.”
Werdum is without a doubt a viable contender, most known for submitting all-time great Fedor Emelianenko at a Strikeforce event back in 2010. Going into his bout with Velasquez, he is just as confident as he was in 2010, and plans to show the world who the true champion is:
“When I beat Fedor, I had the same feeling. I’m very confident,” Werdum said on the show. “On June 13, I’ll show everyone who’s the real champion.”
Does Werdum stand a chance against Velasquez, or did he just ignite the fire of a caged animal ready to unleash come June?