Fabricio Werdum will now face Mark Hunt. | Photo: Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com
Fabricio Werdum will still get to vie for an Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title at UFC 180, only it won’t be the one held by Cain Velasquez.
On Tuesday, shortly after news emerged that a knee injury had knocked Velasquez from the event, Werdum discussed the situation with Sherdog.com. Speaking from his training camp in Jiquipilco, Mexico, “Vai Cavalo” explained how he was notified that he will instead meet Mark Hunt for the UFC interim heavyweight belt on Nov. 15 in Mexico City.
“I trained in the morning and was resting after lunch when Dana White called me,” Werdum told Sherdog.com. “[He] said, ‘I’ve got two pieces of news, one good and one bad. The good one is you’re going to fight for a belt on Nov. 15, but it won’t be against Velasquez, becuse he hurt his knee. It’s going to be against Mark Hunt.’”
Naturally, Werdum felt let down that the title bout between the coaches of “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” would not come to fruition. However, the 37-year-old submission specialist explained that even the new, short-notice bout has a silver lining.
“I was really disappointed, because I wanted to fight Velasquez. I was training to fight him. It’s a big dream. My goal is always the title, but fighting him would be a huge challenge for me,” said Werdum. “One one side, I was sad, but what am I gonna do? On the other side, I know all the crowd will be supporting me, since I’m a commentator for the UFC Network in all of Latin America.” Now, Werdum must shift his focus and his strategy from Velasquez’s wrestling-based game to that of the heavy-handed Hunt -- a task at which the Brazilian is already hard at work.
“I was thinking about [Velasquez] all the time. I was already setting my game plan with my team. We’ve rented a farm here at the altitude, a house for about 20 people. Now, we’re headed to this newchallenge.”