FORTALEZA, BRAZIL – If things go as Fabricio Werdum wants them to, he’ll go from one coaching gig on “The Ultimate Fighter” to another one – and then onto a title fight with reigning UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
Werdum laid out the ambitious plans following Saturday’s UFC on FUEL TV 10 victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at Paulo Sarasate Arena in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil. Werdum submitted “Big Nog,” his rival coach on “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2,” in the night’s main event.
After the show, Werdum (17-5-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) discussed what’s next. The Brazilian has won three straight fights since his return to the organization, and overall, he’s 6-1 since ending his first UFC run in 2008. He’s ranked No. 5 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA heavyweight rankings and is likely to move up a spot or two on Monday thanks to his win over No. 11 Nogueira (34-8-1 MMA, 5-4 UFC) .
Velasquez (12-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC), though, is likely to next fight ex-champ Junior dos Santos (16-2 MMA, 10-1 UFC) in a rubber match. Both fighters recently picked up wins at UFC 160, and the trilogy is a surefire pay-per-view blockbuster.
Werdum, though, is holding out hope he can fight Velasquez, the UFC’s Mexican-American champion, at some point. Even if it means waiting.
“For those who don’t know, I’m a commentator for the UFC in Spanish because I can speak in Spanish … after living for many years in Spain,” Werdum said through a translator. “I came with the idea to the UFC of doing an ‘Ultimate Fighter’ with Velasquez in Mexico.
“I don’t know if he’s going to beat ‘Cigano.’ It’s going to be a very good fight. I’ll be sitting back, observing both of them. … But I’ve already spent one year without fighting because I did ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ here (in Brazil), so I wouldn’t like that to happen again. But if the UFC says wait a little more, do ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ then fight the champion, I’ll definitely wait and be working out to become a champion.”
After Saturday’s event, UFC executive Marshall Zelaznik, who works on many of the company’s international initiatives, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the goal is to host a Latin American version of “TUF” that would include Spanish-speaking countries, rather than simply “TUF: Mexico.” The company, though, would like to tie in “TUF: Latin America” with a UFC event in Mexico City, though it likely wouldn’t happen until 2014.
That means Werdum could have an awfully long wait. Not only would he have to hope that Velasquez posts his second straight victory over dos Santos, he’d have to wait to see if the UFC’s plans in Mexico actually materialize. And following recent wins over the likes of Nogueira, Roy Nelson, Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Silva, another extended trip to the sidelines for Werdum may not be the best course of action for one of the division’s hottest contenders.
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(Pictured: Fabricio Werdum)