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Fabricio Werdum: Stipe Miocic or my friend Daniel Cormier – I don't care; I want the belt


It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum wants to get back to another title shot.

On Saturday, Werdum (23-7-1 MMA, 11-4 UFC) continues that quest when he meets ex-Bellator heavyweight champ Alexander Volkov (29-6 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in the UFC Fight Night 127 main event at The O2 in London. The entire card streams live on UFC Fight Pass.

Werdum turned 40 this past August, but in the heavyweight division fighters seem to be able to keep going into their 40s and stay competitive more than in lighter weight classes. He’s won three of his past four since losing the title to Stipe Miocic nearly two years ago, and the lone loss was by majority decision to Alistair Overeem.

But with Miocic booked to fight light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in a July superfight title bout at UFC 226, Werdum knows he has to keep busy if he wants the shot when the Miocic-Cormier dust settles.

“I can’t think of the belt only, nor can I sit around and not fight, waiting for the belt to come to me,” Werdum recently told MMAjunkie. “I have to demonstrate my worth by fighting as often as possible. I’m confident I’ll have another shot.”

The easy narrative would seem to be that Werdum would rather fight Miocic (18-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) than Cormier (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC), given Miocic knocked him out to win the title at UFC 198 in Brazil. Then there’s the fact Cormier and Werdum are friendly.

But the Brazilian said it doesn’t matter who has the belt. He just wants it back.

“My greatest objective is being the champion for a third time,” said Werdum, who also was an interim champion before he had the official title. “It doesn’t matter if it’s against Stipe Miocic or Daniel Cormier. I love Daniel Cormier. He’s my friend going back several years. But we’re professionals. If he wins, I’ll have to fight him. What can I do? My goal is the belt. That’s it. It doesn’t matter who’s holding it.

“If it’s Stipe Miocic, great – I get to avenge a loss. If it’s Daniel Cormier, we’ll fight. I have nothing bad to say about him. I don’t badmouth people to promote a fight. That’s not who I am. … My goal is the belt, regardless of who has it.”

But first, Werdum has to get past Volkov. The 29-year-old Russian will have a height advantage over Werdum – though just three inches, given Werdum is no slouch at 6-foot-4 – and a youth advantage.

Volkov also has wins in his first three UFC fights since coming over from stints in Bellator and M-1. In September, he picked up a “Fight of the Night” TKO of Stefan Struve in the UFC Fight Night 115 main event in the Netherlands to piggyback on decision wins over Timothy Johnson and Roy Nelson.

“I see Volkov as a very difficult opponent,” Werdum said. “He’s very tall. He has a great reach, and very good muay Thai. He just beat three guys in the UFC. And every heavyweight in the UFC is dangerous. I think it will be a great fight. I’m able to visualize it. I envision a lot of muay Thai. And like everyone says, I expect to knock him out or submit him. (But) the main thing is to get the win.

“Of course, I also want a finish, but it’s not always possible. Some strategies just don’t work. So I don’t try to only put on a show. My goal is to win. That’s the most important. Then we’ll see how I get there. This is a tall, dangerous opponent, who’s durable. He’s not a ground specialist, but I wouldn’t underestimate anyone. He knows ground defense, and he gets up quickly. So it’s going to be a great fight. I have to take care, because anything can happen in five rounds.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 127, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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