Fabricio Werdum’s heavyweight title reign ended before it began, as the Brazilian carelessly rushed directly into a counter right hook from Stipe Miocic in front of some 40,000 of his countrymen at UFC 198.
On the heels of a victory over Cain Velasquez that launched Werdum into the “Greatest of All-Time” discussion, the first-round knockout loss to Miocic was something of a shocker. After all, this was also the man with victories over Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Roy Nelson, to name a few. By comparison, Miocic was relatively unheralded.
Fortunately for “Vai Cavalo,” the heavyweight division is arguably the most volatile in all of MMA, with the title changing hands on a regular basis. Any heavyweight contender with a short memory and a decent resume doesn’t have to wait long to climb back into contention.
“I want to fight for the title again. I told UFC I wanted to fight soon. Stipe got a nice punch. I don't have excuses,” Werdum said at a press conference on Thursday. “I’m very excited for this next fight.”
Werdum was originally supposed to face Ben Rothwell at UFC 203 on Saturday, but Travis Browne stepped in when Rothwell had to withdraw from the bout due to injury. Werdum defeated Browne via five-round unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 11 in April 2014. That victory cemented the Brazilian as the division’s No. 1 contender, and he’s hoping that a similar result will do the same at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland (current odds).
“ I want to beat Travis Browne again; this time I want to finish him. After I beat Travis I will sit next to the Octagon and watch my next opponent,” Werdum said.
The Kings MMA standout shrewdly requested to compete on the same card as Miocic, in hopes that an impressive victory would grant him a chance to avenge that defeat. However, if Overeem bests Miocic, Werdum has unfinished business with the Dutch striker, as well.
“ Whether it’s Stipe or Alistair, I don't know. I asked UFC to fight on the same card as Stipe. This is my plan,” Werdum said. “Our fights are on the same date. I can then get a rematch with him or Alistair Overeem. I finished Alistair in 2006 with a very nice kimura. I’ve fought with Overeem two times. We’re 1-1. My big goal is the belt. It doesn’t matter who I fight. I just want my belt again.”