Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum wants a chance to take the belt back to Kings MMA, and he expects to earn a shot at the winner of Stipe Miocic vs. Alistair Overeem with a win over Travis Browne at UFC 203.
Werdum was originally scheduled to meet Ben Rothwell in the co-main event of UFC 203 on Sept. 10, but Browne stepped up with Rothwell got injured. Werdum didn’t mind about the change. He only had one demand: fight a top 10, get the finish and earn another shot at the heavyweight championship.
"That’s the goal," Werdum told MMA Fighting. "I never saw someone say they want to win by decision. I think everybody wants a knockout or a submission. The speech is always the same. The quicker, the better. One minute, one round, two rounds, that’s better. I can’t think differently.
"I need this victory. It’s important for my goal to fight for the title again. I deserved an immediate rematch since I was coming off six wins in a row, but I knew the UFC wouldn’t give it to me. Winning this fight, I will deserve it. I will do everything I can to put on a spectacular fight to earn another title shot."
A dominant, unanimous decision win over Browne earned Werdum a shot at the belt in 2014, but the Brazilian won’t look past "Hapa," who bounced between wins and losses since that five-round clash in Orlando.
"I can’t be overconfident in this fight," he said. "I never entered a fight overconfident. My losses were based on things I did in training, and luck also plays out during the fight. I’m coming off a loss so I can’t be overconfident. I might have a slight advantage because I won the last fight, but it’s nothing big.
"It’s not an easy fight just because I defeated him before," he said. "I can’t underestimate Travis Browne. He’s also coming off a loss so he wants this win to move forward. I’m sure that a win will put me right into a title fight. That’s not the case for him, but he definitely wants to win."
When his fight with Rothwell was announced, Werdum told Combate that his "good side" was in the past. His idea was to spice things up and promote his fights better. Asked to elaborate on that, Werdum explained he will "always be the same guy, won’t chance who I am, but maybe do something more."
Werdum did a god job promoting his fight with Miocic in Brazil. UFC 198 was one of the biggest events in the promotion’s history, but the "happy face" won’t be back for UFC 203.
"People associated that happy face campaign to the knockout, so it’s not the moment to do that again," he said. "I will always joke around, but the happy face is in the past. I’d do something different. But talking more at the post-fight press conference helps a lot, for sure. Fans like that, some trash talk.
"I won’t be disrespectful, but if someone says something, I will fire back. I won’t let anything unanswered. If Browne talks trash at me, I will respond. I won’t be quiet. If he starts to talk trash, that’s even better. It will end worse for him, like last time. He talked trash and lost."
The UFC heavyweight title will be on the line in Cleveland, and Werdum says that the outcome of the five-round fight depends on how the challenger shows up.
"If Overeem shows up like he did against ‘Cigano’ [Junior dos Santos], fighting smart and with a good strategy, I think he wins. But if he shows up afraid, like it already happened in the past – you can see in his face and the way he fights – I believe he will get knocked out by Stipe Miocic. If he uses his K-1 and MMA experience, he wins this fight."