Fabricio Werdum won’t step inside the Octagon at UFC 207 with Cain Velasquez ruled “unfit to fight” by the Nevada Athletic Commission, so he wants to move on and face heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic next.
Werdum bounced back from his UFC 198 loss to Miocic with a unanimous decision victory over Travis Browne at UFC 203, the same night Miocic beat Alistair Overeem in Cleveland, and says it makes the most sense to book a rematch with the champion now.
"That would be fair,” Werdum told MMA Fighting. "Cain Velasquez didn’t show up for the title eliminator bout, and he won’t be able to fight in a while, so I’d rather wait and fight for the belt next. I’m the No. 1 contender, that’s the logical choice. Cain Velasquez won’t fight for a long time, so it’s fair to make me against Stipe Miocic in 2017."
With his UFC 207 bout cancelled, Werdum will take a week off to relax with his family and then jump back in the gym to train. As for an ideal date for his next fight, Werdum says it’s up to Miocic.
"I think I deserved an immediate rematch, and they didn’t make it, but now I think it’s time to make this fight,” he said. "Whenever he comes back, I’ll be ready for him. My focus was always the belt."
His first loss in almost five years taught him a lesson, and Werdum plans to show Miocic he’s the better fighter when they meet again.
"Being more patient, I’m sure I’ll submit him,” Werdum said. "I learned a lot with that lesson. I have what it takes to beat him. I didn’t have enough time to show that in the first fight because I was too anxious, but I’ll beat him next time."
The UFC has yet to make an announcement of the next move in Miocic's career, and the Brazilian jokes that his cat’s life depends on this decision.
"My cat is stuck in the tree and my wife asked me to call a firefighter to rescue him,” Werdum said, "but I said ‘no, don’t call the firefighter because Stipe Miocic might show up here and we end up fighting now. We have to wait for the UFC’s announcement, and after I win the rematch, Miocic can come and rescue my cat.’"