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What if Fabricio Werdum Wins?

I don't think Fabricio Werdum is going to beat Fedor Emelianenko on Saturday, and neither do you, and neither does anyone we know. But it is possible that Werdum could beat Fedor, and although it would be a huge upset, it wouldn't be as big an upset as Sokoudjou beating Antonio Rogerio Nogueira or Matt Serra beating Georges St. Pierre.

So if that huge upset happens, what happens next for Werdum, for Fedor, for Strikeforce, for M-1 Global and for all of MMA? A few scenarios are below.




Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin at UFC 116 becomes MMA's true heavyweight title fight. For now, just about everyone who follows MMA accepts Fedor as the sport's top heavyweight. But it doesn't follow that Werdum would be the top heavyweight if he beats Fedor. Lesnar and Carwin are generally recognized as the next best hevyweights after Fedor, so if Fedor loses on Saturday, that makes UFC 116 the first time ever that a UFC heavyweight title fight would be for the undisputed heavyweight championship of all of MMA.

Junior dos Santos moves to No. 3. The first-round knockout of Werdum in dos Santos's UFC debut in 2008 was plenty impressive at the time, but it would become all the more impressive in hindsight if Werdum were to beat Fedor. While we're re-arranging the Top 10 heavyweights in MMA after a Werdum win we'd have to keep dos Santos higher than Werdum, and higher than everyone except Lesnar and Carwin.

Werdum's legacy changes forever. Werdum has already accomplished a lot in MMA: He's TKO'd Gabriel Gonzaga twice, he's submitted Alistair Overeem and Aleksander Emelianenko, and he's been considered one of the Top 10 heavyweights in MMA for much of his career. But if he were to beat Fedor, that would completely change the way we view him. When and if someone beats Fedor (and I mean really beats him, not just gets a win on a cut caused by an impermissible strike), that's going to go down as one of the most significant fights in MMA history, and Werdum's legacy would be immensely boosted by a win in one of the most significant fights ever.

Werdum-Overeem 2 becomes the biggest fight Strikeforce can book. When Werdum beat Overeem in the first round of Pride's 2006 openweight tournament, it really wasn't considered a particularly significant heavyweight fight. But since then Overeem has won the Strikeforce heavyweight belt and looked like a monster while fighting in Japan, and he'd probably be favored to beat Werdum, even a Werdum who had a win over Fedor on his resume. Werdum-Overeem 2 wouldn't generate anywhere near the hype of Fedor-Overeem, but it would still be a big deal, and it's the fight Strikeforce and Showtime would go with next.

M-1 Global loses its meal ticket. M-1 is relevant for one reason, and that is its affiliation with the fighter who has the aura of invincibility. If Werdum ends that aura of invincibility, M-1 loses its relevance. No one is going to be interested in co-promoting with M-1 while Fedor is on a losing streak.

Fedor's greatness becomes a part of MMA's past, not its present. Fedor's legacy in the sport is secure; no matter what else he ever does, he was the best fighter of the last decade. But he's the greatest fighter of the present only as long as he keeps winning. There's no fighter for whom there's more pressure to keep winning every time than Fedor.