Fabricio Werdum is going back to work at Kings MMA. | File photo: Dave Mandel
Fabricio Werdum earned a new level of respect in the MMA world when he became the man to end Fedor Emelianenko’s 10-year dynasty. However, one year later, a poor performance against Alistair Overeem in the quarterfinals of Strikeforce’s 2011 heavyweight grand prix took away all hype and even turned many fans against him.
Since his much-derided June performance, the Brazilian grappler has taken time to recover from minor knee surgery and train for the 2011 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, where, this past weekend, he finished second behind Vinny Magalhaes in the super-heavyweight division.
Werdum viewed his camp for the grappling championship as a period of renewal, where he combined ground training with hard physical work, something which he saw as a major gap in his game. Now, the 34-year-old has turned his focus to training with coach Rafael Cordeiro in preparation for a return to the cage in December, when Zuffa brass have told Werdum he will fight again.
“I still have some fights under my Strikeforce contract and I don’t know yet if my fight in December will be for them or for UFC,” Werdum told Sherdog.com. “What I can say is that I learned a lot after the Overeem fight and I saw some things I needed to fix. I had a lot of strength and brutal power training, and I’m feeling much stronger. I'm sure I’ll have a great victory and I’ll dominate in 2012.”
Training at Kings MMA in Huntington Beach, Calif., Werdum is constantly surrounded by well-known faces, such as Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, Wanderlei Silva and Mark Munoz. Coincidentally, each of them will fight before the end of the year. At UFC 139, Shogun will face former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson and Silva will collide with Cung Le, while Munoz will take on Chris Leben at UFC 138. Sobral is also expected to make his MMA return in December.
Such a strong training camp makes “Vai Cavalo” even more confident that he will have a strong finish to the year.
“Can you imagine all the motivation from having these guys in the camp?” asked Werdum. “Shogun, Wanderlei, Munoz, Andre ‘Dida’ [Amado], Babalu, Jake Ellenberger... not to mention Rafael Cordeiro’s investments in expansion which made Kings MMA a great facility. With all those guys fighting so close to each other, I just can predict a great end of the year and an even better 2012.”
Colin Foster contributed to this report.