Fabricio Werdum To Face The Winner Of Barnett vs. Browne

2Q==It came to light a couple a weeks ago that UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is going to be sidelined until this coming summer, resulting from a shoulder surgery and rehab stint that will leave him on the shelf for up to six months.

In terms of what that means to the division, the question has been in the news of late.

Ranked number two in the class, Fabricio Werdum is the guy that most have expected to get the next shot at the champ. At 3 & 0 in the promotion and coming off of a big win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira back in June, “Vai Cavalo” has been the odds on favorite to be the next heavyweight challenger.

To the point, Werdum and his team met with the UFC’s president two weeks ago in Las Vegas and exited the meeting believing that the title shot was his. Indeed, Vai Cavalo was left with the impression that Dana White had all but given him the title shot, and that the decision to wait for Cain or to take another fight in the interim was his (Werdum’s) to make.  

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As Fabricio put it:

“They told me it’s my decision. I had a meeting with Dana White and my team, the UFC said it’s up to me, if I want to wait or fight again. I’m still thinking about it, but I believe I’m going to wait for this opportunity to fight for the title. I’m the next in line. But it’s not 100 percent, yet.”

However, at today’s UFC 168 pre-fight presser, White expressed a completely different view of the situation.

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRjX0TRD7gmIn responding to a question on the subject and the fact the Werdum “keeps saying that he’s going to wait for Velasquez”, White was asked if he could confirm that Fabricio would not be waiting for Cain, but rather would get the winner of Saturday’s Josh Barnett / Travis Browne fight.

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To that, the UFC’s president said: “Yeah, that’s what we’re planning.”

Based off the statement, fans may either conclude that Fabricio has decided that he’d rather take a fight than wait, that he completely misunderstood what White had said at their meeting, or that Dana just changed his mind. Those would seem to be the options.

In terms of the options, it’s possible that Vai Cavalo has decided to take a fight rather than waiting, but in listening to him two weeks ago and post his meeting with White, it appeared that Fabricio was leaning towards waiting for the champ. Then again, it’s also possible that the whole thing was one big misunderstanding on Werdum’s part. Of course and as all fans know, there’s always the other possibility that White simply changed his mind.  

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Regardless, the net result of today’s presser is that Werdum will be fighting the winner of Barnett / Browne. If the victor of this fight emerges healthy and suffers no significant medical suspensions, then it means we could see the match in late spring. Although Werdum fans might have preferred to wait for the champ and get their shot at the title, it’s also reasonable to believe that they’ll welcome a fight with either Barnett or Browne and that they believe Fabricio can beat them both. Of course the down side of this fight is that it eats a contender.  

Outside picture couresy of superbwallpapers.com

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