Fabricio Werdum has fought only once in 2013, and he won’t return this year.
Following three consecutive wins inside the Octagon, the jiu-jitsu specialist revealed to MMAFighting.com that UFC president Dana White has confirmed to him that he will be the next in the line for the heavyweight title, facing the winner of UFC 166’s main event between Cain Velasquez and Junior "Cigano" dos Santos.
"I had a meeting with Dana White and the first thing he asked me was if I wanted to fight one more time or wait to fight for the title," Werdum told MMAFighting.com. "I didn’t even think twice. I’ve waited for this opportunity for years. I will have to stay away from the Octagon for more time, but that’s not a problem. I will have more time to focus and train. I’m back to school. I always look at the bright side."
Werdum, who does UFC commentary in Spanish, will be cageside at UFC 166 to call the bout.
"I will be there as a commentator for the Spanish television," he said. "I don’t want anyone hurt, but anything can happen, so I’ll work with my suit and gloves just to make sure [laughs]."
"I believe everybody sees this fight like I do," he said. "’Cigano’ has a great chance to knock him on in the first two rounds. After that, Velasquez’s cardio is excellent for a heavyweight."
Werdum believes he has what it takes to dethrone both of them, but wants to avenge an old loss to dos Santos.
Back in 2008, Werdum had the option to sit and wait for a shot at the title but decided to accept a fight against an unknown UFC newcomer in dos Santos, and he got knocked out in 81 seconds.
"Nothing against ‘Cigano’, but I want this rematch," he said. "I thought I was the man at that time. I want to fight him again not because of him, but to prove to myself that I can beat him when I do things right."
Werdum wants to avenge his last loss in the UFC, but fighting Velasquez could give him the opportunity to coach another season of The Ultimate Fighter.
"If ‘Cigano’ wins, I believe I’ll fight earlier," said Werdum, who coached the last season of TUF Brazil in opposite to "Minotauro". "But I want to do a TUF season with Velasquez in Mexico. Anything can happen. I believe I could fight Velasquez in Mexico or Las Vegas, I don’t know, but if ‘Cigano’ wins there’s a strong possibility that we fight in Brazil."
Velasquez has only lost once in his MMA career, but he hasn’t fought a high-caliber jiu-jitsu fighter yet. And Werdum knows that.
"My game matches with Velasquez’s," he said. "I won’t be afraid to kick or punch him to avoid the takedowns because the ground game is my best weapon. I have a good guard and that’s what happened with ‘Cigano’ in their second fight. He didn’t attack with his boxing because he didn’t want to get taken down, so he didn’t attack and didn’t defend."