Former UFC Champion Fabricio Werdum Requests Release from Promotion

UFC Sydney Fabricio Werdum MMA
Credit: Mike Sloan/

Currently serving a USADA suspension, former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has the itch to fight again. To accomplish this, he has requested to be released from his current contract.

While Fabricio Werdum’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, suggested this to MMA Fighting earlier this week, the fighter himself outright stated that he would like to be released from his UFC contract earlier today.

The decision stems from his suspension, which he deemed “unfair.” Werdum was slated to fight Aleksei Oleinik this year before USADA stepped in. The Brazilian wanted to ensure to the UFC that he would not fight in North America (AKA Bellator) out of respect for the UFC. Abdelaziz added that he expects Werdum’s next fight to take place in Russia. Some are suggesting ACA as the landing spot due to Werdum’s relationship with Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, who is involved with the promotion.

Fabricio Werdum was outright excellent when he returned to the Octagon after over three years away from the promotion. “Vai Cavalo” won six straight fights upon his return, capping the run off with an interim title win against Mark Hunt, and an undisputed title victory against the then-dominant Cain Velasquez.

It seemed as if a new era had begun in the heavyweight division. Werdum is the greatest heavyweight grappler in the sport with multiple BJJ gold medals to his name, and he had displayed impressive striking during the six-fight streak. Then Stipe Miocic put an end to things with one swift right hand in the first round of his first title defense. Since the loss, Werdum has gone 3-2, most recently falling to former Bellator champion Alexander Volkov.

The heavyweight division is in better shape currently than it has been in years. The (planned) return of Cain Velasquez helps cushion the blow of potentially losing Werdum while fighters like Curtis Blaydes and Volkov give fans something to be excited about down the road.