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Re-sign or retire: Fabricio Werdum undecided on future with two fights left on UFC deal

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Fabricio Werdum (pictured) meets Aleksei Oleinik in a three-round heavyweight bout at UFC 249.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Fabricio Werdum has an important decision to make in 2020.

“Vai Cavalo” signed an eight-fight deal with the UFC after submitting Cain Velasquez and claiming the undisputed heavyweight championship in June 2015. Five years and six bouts later, Werdum approaches the end of his current contract with the company, but has yet to determine what his next step will be.

Werdum enters the octagon Saturday night to face Aleksei Oleinik in the preliminary portion of UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Fla., in his first fight back from a USADA suspension.

“My goal now is to do this fight, and I’ll have one more in my contract,” Werdum told MMA Fighting. “I don’t know yet if I’ll re-sign, I don’t have this decision 100 percent made in my head. I might re-sign a few more fights to be able to end my career or retire after these two and continue only as a commentator. I have many options in my head. I haven’t decided 100 percent yet. My focus is on this fight and then I’ll see what I’ll do.”

Money is obviously important, the former heavyweight titleholder said, but the determining factor for his future in the sport is “my will to continue fighting.”

“I’ll talk to my family and my wife, we make decisions together,” he said. “She wants me to stop after these two; she thinks it’s good already. It will all depend on the victories, the way the fights go. But we’ll see. Maybe I’ll just continue as a commentator for the UFC, something I really like doing.”

Regardless of what happens Saturday night in Florida, UFC 249 will not be the last we’ll see from the jiu-jitsu specialist in the octagon.

“I will fight the contract I have, I have two more fights, and then we’ll decide,” Werdum said. “We’ll re-sign, or we’ll retire. I’ll see. But there’s no chance this is my last, no.”

Werdum said sitting out for two years due to his “unfair” two-year doping suspension “was hard, I won’t lie, but I took it in stride.” The 42-year-old veteran spent the time away from the sport having fun with his family, evolving as a martial artist in California, teaching seminars, and working as a color commentator for the UFC.

Finally free to enter the cage, “Vai Cavalo” volunteers for a busy return.

“If I can fight again on the 13th or the 16th, I’ll do it,” said Werdum, mentioning the upcoming UFC Fight Night shows scheduled for next week in Jacksonville. “Let’s make up for lost time. Let’s see if we can do it.”

“I’ve done that before at ADCC 2003,” he continued. “I took Mark Kerr (to Sao Paulo) and ended up fighting as well, placing second in the (+99kg) division and third in the absolute. If there’s an opening on the 13th, I’ll stay there (in Florida). I’ll commentate the May 16 UFC card from the studio in Los Angeles, but if I had to cancel that to fight, I’d fight.”