Fabricio Werdum has established himself as one of the greatest heavyweights of all-time, having successfully competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Strikeforce and Pride Fighting Championships. The former UFC champion remains in contention at the age of 40, with back-to-back victories over Walt Harris and onetime M-1 Global titleholder Marcin Tybura. Werdum will carry that two-fight winning streak into his clash with Alexander Volkov in the UFC Fight Night 127 main event this Saturday at the O2 Arena in London.
Ahead of Werdum’s meeting with Volkov, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He finishes at a high rate.
Werdum’s 23-7 record includes 11 wins by submission and six by knockout or technical knockout. He won five of his first 10 fights by submission, including his MMA debut against Tengiz Tedoradze. Werdum tapped Aleksander Emelianenko and Fedor Emelianenko with chokes, knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga twice, guillotined Cain Velasquez and slapped an armbar on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
2. Statistical proficiency has been a hallmark.
In two stints with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Werdum has stuffed the stat sheets. According to FightMetric data, “Vai Cavalo” ranks second all-time among heavyweights in significant strikes landed (785) and eighth in significant strike accuracy (56.0). Meanwhile, he ranks fourth in total strikes landed (1,013) and strikes landed per minute (4.93) and fifth in strike differential (1.95). Werdum’s brilliance as a grappler places in him the Top 10 among active UFC heavyweights in takedowns landed (nine), takedown accuracy (23.7) and submission attempts (four).
3. He conquered the jiu-jitsu world.
Werdum successfully juggled his MMA career with his pursuits in submission grappling. From 2000 to 2004, he captured 12 medals -- eight golds, two silvers and two bronzes -- at various levels in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Championships and the Pan American Championships. In addition, Werdum took podium finishes at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission World Championships in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011, as “Vai Cavalo” walked away with two gold medals, two silver medals and two bronze medals.
4. His takedown of a legend took him to new heights.
On June 25, 2010, Werdum squared off with Fedor Emelianenko in the main event of a show co-promoted by Strikeforce and M-1 Global. The result shook the mixed martial arts world to its foundation. Werdum handed “The Last Emperor” his first loss in nearly a decade, as he submitted him with a triangle armbar in the first round. It gave the Brazilian a signature victory and earned him “Upset of the Year” and “Submission of the Year” honors from various media outlets.
5. He has hinted at a possible career change.
Brock Lesnar made the move from World Wrestling Entertainment to mixed martial arts, as did Phil Brooks, aka “CM Punk.” On the other side of the coin, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey recently signed with the WWE and will compete at WrestleMania 34 on April 8. Werdum has hinted at making a similar move and talked of possibly juggling careers as a pro wrestler and mixed martial artist, calling it “doable.” The longtime Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt claimed a stint in the WWE would be “financially great” and insisted that he would “definitely do it” if given the opportunity.