clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Fabricio Werdum plans rematch tour with Andrei Arlovski, Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez

New, comments
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Fabricio Werdum is out to prove he’s the best heavyweight in the world, and plans on avenging some losses of his record.

"Vai Cavalo" unified the UFC heavyweight belt with a third-round submission victory over Cain Velasquez in Mexico City, and expects to face Andrei Arlovski next so he can avenge a UFC 70 decision loss to "The Pitbull".

"I would like to fight Arlovski because it was a close fight, a split decision, an ugly fight that nobody liked, and I think I won," Werdum told MMAFighting.com. "Arlovski next might be a good idea. After that, ‘Cigano’. But I take step by step. The next step is Arlovski, and then ‘Cigano’. I fought ‘Minotauro’ again, did well and won, and now it’s the rematch with Arlovski. ‘Cigano’ would be cool. But I got to focus on Arlovski first because he’s a former UFC champion and this fight will sell well."

Werdum initially offered an immediate rematch to Velasquez, but changed his mind.

"I talked about a rematch with Velasquez in respect," he said. "He was a great champion and did a lot for the sport, so I was being respectful. But then I thought about it, the way the fight went... When it’s a close fight, when there’s doubt, or when it’s a quick finish, you do an immediate rematch. But I did everything I was planning to do and then got him with that guillotine. People saw there’s no need for rematch now."

The UFC has yet to make the call on who will get the first shot at Werdum. UFC president Dana White mentioned that Junior dos Santos, the last man to defeat Werdum inside the Octagon and the only man to ever finish the heavyweight champion in MMA, would be the first option, but it’s up to Andrei Arlovski or Stipe Miocic with "Cigano" sidelined after a knee surgery.

"It’s Arlovski now, ‘Cigano’ next, and then Velasquez again. That’s what I imagine," Werdum said. "Cain will have to do one more fight, so I will fight Arlovski, Cain fights Miocic, and ‘Cigano’ is injured. That’s how I see it, but it’s up to them to earn it now."

Arlovsi has won three in a row with a pair of first-round since he returned to the UFC in 2014. dos Santos hasn’t fought since a close unanimous decision victory over Miocic, who recently dominated Mark Hunt en rout to a fifth-round TKO.

"I can’t say who is more dangerous," Werdum said. "At this level, every fight is tough. They are all dangerous. The heavyweight division is dangerous because one punch can end everything. Everybody is dangerous. ‘Cigano’ has heavy hands, Arlovski showed that too against Travis Browne, and Miocic is doing well, too. Anyone can finish anyone."

For his rematch with "Cigano", "Vai Cavalo" wants the Brazil vs. Brazil clash to headline the first soccer stadium UFC card at the 55,000-seat Arena do Gremio.

"I want to rematch ‘Cigano’ in Brazil, at the Arena do Gremio in Porto Alegre. It would be a dream come true," he said. "Fighting in my hometown, where I was born and raised. The people from Porto Alegre love fights, especially now that they have one of them in the UFC. I’m sure that we would have 40, 50 thousand people at the Arena for this fight. We would break the UFC record.

"I want this rematch with ‘Cigano’ because I was not a professional the first time we fought. Not taking anything away from him. He went there and knocked me out, and then he won the UFC title. He deserved it. But I learned a lot with it. That loss changed my entire career. It was either become a professional or stop fighting. That was when I decided to become a professional fighter."

If Werdum comes out successful in his rematch tour, will he become the best heavyweight of all times?

"I have the title and I proved I’m the champion," he said. "I fulfilled my goal, but it’s hard to say that. I leave that to the fans. If some people say that, I’m happy. But I would be too arrogant to say I’m the man. I showed inside the Octagon that I was the best that night. It was not a quick submission. I left no doubts. Submitting Fedor (Emelianenko), ‘Minotauro’ and Velasquez. Nobody did that before. Being a world champion in jiu-jitsu, ADCC and the UFC, nobody did that too. I’m very happy with all this."

"Now, I want those rematches to have some king of closure," he continued. "I’ve done a lot for the sport. Those wins over Fedor, ‘Minotauro’ and Velasquez will forever be in the history of the sport. They say I’m the most feared man on the planet [laughs], but I don’t believe that."

MMA Hour: How Fabricio Werdum transformed into a champion