While the retirement of Little Nog (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira) perhaps overshadowed it, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Saturday night may have been the last time we see Fabricio Werdum in action. At the very least in the UFC.
Leading up to his UFC Fight Island 3 bout with Alexander Gustafsson, the former heavyweight champion was clear that he would not re-sign with the company. “Maybe I’ll fight for a different company, I’ve fought for many of them,” he said during an interview with Ag Fight. But the UFC was out, he claimed, saying “the cycle is over.”
Werdum (29-4-1) has long been a veteran of the heavyweight scene. He fought in PRIDE, and defeated heavyweight GOAT Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce, a promotion he landed in after being shown the door by the UFC following a 2-2 stint in 2007-2008. When Strikeforce was gobbled up by the UFC a few years later, Werdum returned, winning the UFC heavyweight championship by defeating Cain Velasquez in 2015.
In more recent times, however, Werdum has hit some speed bumps in terms of his fighting career. A USADA suspension, later reduced, initially had him out for two years. In his return at UFC 249, he lost a split decision to Aleksei Oleinik. That marked back-to-back losses for Werdum for the first time in his career.
He looked sharped against Gustafsson at UFC Fight Island 3. Pulled off a first round win via arm-bar. Too quick, perhaps, to rule it a return to form. But it seemed that way. Following the fight, Werdum told media outlets including Cageside Press that he didn’t know what the future held for him.
“I don’t know yet. I just want to enjoy this victory,” Werdum said as part of a virtual media scrum. “I have many options, because it’s my last fight. I don’t know what happens now, I’m just waiting for that.”
Werdum seems to know age is a factor, while refusing to give in to it just yet. “I’m 42 years old, but my mind is very young,” he stated. For now, he’s not stressing over his fighting future. “I’m happy. I want to go back to my home, and enjoy [time] with my family.”
If this is the last hurrah for Fabricio Werdum in the UFC, he has plenty to be happy with. Asked for his favorite, “I have many,” Werdum told us. But, he added, the title fight with Velasquez stands out. Especially given how well he stuck to his game plan, training in Mexico City for an extended period to prepare for the altitude there.
He also admitted to thinking about a rematch with Fedor some day, despite winning the first fight. With Emelianenko set for a retirement tour in Bellator MMA, that could be one destination for “Vai Cavalo.”