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Fabricio Werdum calls win 'the best moment of my life'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The 2:13 mark of the third round may have been the moment Fabrico Werdum officially made Cain Velasquez submit to a guillotine, and for the first time, made Werdum officially the best heavyweight fighter in the world. But Werdum saw the guillotine finish coming years ago.

"I prepared for this for about two years, not two or three months before," said Werdum (20-5-1) at the press conference after his title win at Arena Ciudad in Mexico City. "I believed in myself. I visualized this moment. I got a guillotine. I trained for that moment. I knew Cain was going to go for a single or double leg so I was ready for that moment."

The irony of the fight is that the one aspect that Velasquez was thought to have the huge advantage, in the ability to fight at a pace no heavyweight could keep up with for a five-round fight, proved his undoing. Velasquez was exhausted by the second round, likely by the 7,800-feet-above-sea-level altitude that Velasquez admitted was a mistake in not better acclimating himself for. And contrary to almost all predictions, it was Werdum that took over as the fight went into the second round at that pace.

"Werdum had a great game plan," said UFC President Dana White. "He knew what would happen. He went into a higher altitude than Mexico City for 40 days."

Werdum said the preparation at altitude made the difference, noting he was knocked down in the first round, but was able to recover.

"I was so prepared with my mind and my body, I felt the blow, but I didn't get dizzy," he said. "I felt very good to beat the best in the world. People said my belt (the interim title he beat Mark Hunt for in November) wasn't real, that it was fake."

Werdum has now defeated Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Velasquez all via submission, the dominant heavyweights of three different eras of the sport. Nobody else has ever made either Emelianenko or Velasquez submit, let alone both. The only person to make Nogueira submit, besides Werdum, was Frank Mir.

But even though he ended a 10-year unbeaten streak by Emelianenko, he considered the Velasquez win as the biggest moment not only of his career, but his life.

"For sure when I fought Fedor in 2010, it was an amazing fight," he said. "Nobody believed in myself again. But this moment is the best moment of my life. The best in the world is the UFC heavyweight champion, so I'm very happy."